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The Story of Nelson also "The Grateful Indian", "The Boatswain's Son"   By: (1814-1880)

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The Story of Nelson, and other stories, by W.H.G. Kingston.

There are three short stories in this little book. The first thing to say is that the book has no page numbers, which must be just about unique. I cannot imagine what the point of this is.

The three stories are of roughly equal length. The first is a story about Nelson purporting to have been written by an admirer whose work at sea kept him near to Nelson.

The second story is about farming in the Red River area of North America in the late 1700s or early 1800s. The weather, with flooding of the river, and the red Indians, made it all rather difficult.

The third story is about a young chap who while no more than fourteen distinguishes himself in battle, and is immediately promoted to midshipman. His bravery and seamanship win him several battles, with their prizes, and he is promoted till he is an Admiral with a baronetcy. Of course there are some jealous people on the way. But it is a pretty tale, with a pretty girl to be married.

THE STORY OF NELSON; THE GRATEFUL INDIAN; THE BOATSWAIN'S SON; BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.

VOLUME ONE, CHAPTER ONE.

THE STORY OF NELSON.

My great ambition as a boy was to be a sailor; the idea of becoming one occupied my thoughts by day and influenced my dreams by night. I delighted in reading naval histories and exploits and tales of the sea, and I looked upon Rodney, Howe, Nelson, and Saint Vincent, as well as Duncan, Collingwood, Exmouth, and Sir Sidney Smith, as far greater men, and more worthy of admiration, than all the heroes of antiquity put together an opinion which I hold even to the present day, and which, I hope, all my readers will maintain with me.

Once it happened during my summer holidays that, most unwillingly, I was taken up to London. During the time, a naval friend, having compassion on me, suggested that I might find matter of interest by a trip to Greenwich, and a visit to the Hospital. I jumped at the proposal. I can never forget the feelings with which I entered the wide, smooth space on which that beautiful collection of buildings stands, forming the Royal Hospital for Seamen, with its broad terrace facing the river, and found myself surrounded by many hundreds of the gallant veterans who had maintained not only so nobly the honour of Old England on the deep, but had contributed to preserve her from the numberless foes who had threatened her with destruction.

The building is of itself interesting. On this spot once stood the Royal Palace of Placentia, in which no less than four successive sovereigns were born Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, Mary, and Elizabeth. Charles the Second had intended to rebuild it, but left it unfinished; and it was put into the heart of good Queen Mary, the wife of William of Orange, to establish that noble institution for the reception of the disabled seamen of the Royal Navy, which, much augmented in size, has ever since existed the noblest monument to a sovereign's memory.

I visited the beautiful chapel and the painted hall, where already were hung a number of fine pictures, illustrative of England's naval victories; and my friend then took me to see an old shipmate of his, who was one of the officers of the Hospital. When he heard that I wished to go to sea, and was so warm an admirer of Nelson, he exclaimed "He'll just suit me. Let him stay here for a few days. We'll fish out some of our men who long served with Nelson, and if he keeps his ears turning right and left he'll hear many a yarn to astonish him. He must have patience though. The old fellows will not open out at once; their memories are like wells, you must throw a little water down at first before you can get them to draw."

I was delighted with the proposal. My friend, however, began to make excuses, saying that he ought to take me back, and that I had no clothes with me... Continue reading book >>




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