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The Rival Crusoes   By: (1814-1880)

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The Rival Crusoes, by W.H.G. Kingston Our hero is the sixteen year old Dick Hargrave, son of a farmer near Keyhaven on the Hampshire coast. A good deal of smuggling went on in that area, but the Hargraves, although turning a blind eye if their barns were used by the smugglers for temporary storage, were not involved. The local landlord had been a politician who had been ennobled and who was now a marquis. One of his sons, Lord Reginald (for Lord is the courtesy title of younger sons of a marquis) was in the Navy. Dick is press ganged into the navy, and finds himself in the same ship as Lord Reginald, who does all he can to make Dick's life a misery. On one occasion Dick jumps ship and goes back home to visit his family, but is recognised by Lord Reginald.

Before he can be punished there is an engagement with the French in which Dick distinguishes himself, and the Captain agrees to dispense with the flogging he should have received.

The ship is posted to the Far East station but is shipwrecked. Both Dick and Lord Reginald survive the wreck and become "Crusoes", still with a deadly rivalry. But Lord Reginald is an incompetent, and would not have survived, had not Dick rescued him, and brought him back to health. Lord Reginald apologises for his past behaviour. Eventually they get back to England, and the story ends there.

In a preface Kingston explains that he has taken a much earlier novel written by a young lady, and has rewritten it with as much improvement as he can make.

THE RIVAL CRUSOES, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.

PREFACE.

The title of the following tale was given to a short story written by the well known authoress, Agnes Strickland, more than half a century ago, when she was about eighteen years old. I well remember the intense delight with which I read it in my boyhood, and was lately surprised to find that it had been so long out of print. The publishers, however, consider that the work, esteemed as it was in former years, is, from the style and the very natural mistakes of a young lady discernible with regard to matters nautical, scarcely suited to the taste of the present day. They therefore requested me to re write it, believing that the subject might be worked into a deeply interesting story of much larger proportions than the original. This I have endeavoured to accomplish, and I trust that the new version of "The Rival Crusoes" may become as popular among the present generation as its predecessor was with the last.

W.H.G. Kingston.

CHAPTER ONE.

AT KEYHAVEN IN DANGEROUS COMPANY THE OLD SMUGGLER A FRIGATE AFTER BATTLE DISLIKE OF BEN FOR THE ROYAL NAVY AN UNEXPECTED LANDING OVERBEARING CONDUCT OF THE MIDSHIPMEN ANGRY WORDS LORD REGINALD OSWALD TOADY VOULES AT THE VILLAGE INN OLD MESSMATES TEMPTATION SUSAN RUDALL'S ANXIOUS LIFE AN ADVENTURE ON THE WAY TO ELVERSTON HOME AT LAST RECEPTION AT THE HALL.

"I tell you what, Dick, if I was Farmer Hargrave I would not turn out to please Lord Elverston or any other lord in the land," exclaimed Ben Rudall, as he stood hammering away at the side of his boat, which lay drawn up on the inner end of Hurst beach, near the little harbour of Keyhaven, on the Hampshire coast, at the western entrance of the Solent, opposite the Isle of Wight. His dress and weather beaten countenance, as well as the work he was engaged on, showed that he was a seafaring man.

"But Mr Gooch the bailiff says there is a flaw, as he calls it, in the lease; but what that means I don't know, except that it's not all right, and that father must turn out, whether he likes it or not," answered Dick Hargrave, who was standing near, and occasionally giving Ben a helping hand. He was a lad about sixteen years of age, strongly built, with a good looking face, exhibiting a firm and determined expression... Continue reading book >>




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