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The Voyages of the Ranger and Crusader And what befell their Passengers and Crews.   By: (1814-1880)

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The Voyages of the Ranger and Crusader, by W.H.G. Kingston.

The Ranger is a naval vessel, employed largely as a troopship, carrying men to India and other areas in which the British strove to keep the peace, the Pax Britannica, while the Crusader is being used as an emigrant ship, carrying people looking for a new life in New Zealand. It appears that many emigrants were a pretty useless lot, whom no life anywhere would have suited, and this comes out very clearly towards the end of the book. That was far being the universal rule, and this book shows the pluck and courage under adversity of the better class of emigrant.

Both vessels run into difficult situations, and the story is about how the passengers and crews managed to pull through them. The Crusader fares worst, being a total loss not very far from New Zealand. The survivors work hard to feed themselves and at the same time to build a vessel, the New Crusader, in which they can get themselves to New Zealand. Even on this final leg of the story they run into a problem with hostile natives. At this point the Ranger appears and effects a rescue, so that the better class of emigrants have survived, while the worse class, who had joined with some of the seamen to stage a mutiny, nearly all die.

A very good read, or of course you can make yourself an audiobook of it. There are the usual Kingston swimming episodes, but always so beautifully described.




"Harry, my boy; another slice of beef?" said Major Shafto, addressing his fine young sailor son, a passed midshipman, lately come home from sea.

"No, thank you, since I could not, if I took it, pay due respect to the mince pies and plum pudding; but Willy here can manage another slice, I daresay. He has a notion, that he will have to feed for the future on `salt junk' and `hard tack.'"

Willy Dicey was going to sea, and had just been appointed to Harry Shafto's ship, the "Ranger."

Among the large party of family friends collected at Major Shafto's house on that Christmas Day not many years ago, was Lieutenant Dicey, a friend and neighbour of the Major's, who had served with him in the same regiment for many years. The Lieutenant had lost a leg, and, unable to purchase his company, had retired from the army. His eldest son, Charles, and two of his daughters, Emily and May, had arranged to go out and settle in New Zealand; and they expected shortly to sail. The Lieutenant would gladly have gone with them, but he had a delicate wife and several other children, and thought it wiser, therefore, to remain at home. The party was a happy and cheerful one. The fire burned brightly, showing that there was a hard frost outside. The lamp shed a brilliant light over the well covered table, and the Major did his best to entertain his guests. The first course was removed, and then came a wonderful plum pudding, and such dishes of mince pies! And then the brandy was brought and poured over them, and set on fire; and Harry Shafto and Willy Dicey tried if they could not eat them while still blazing, and, of course, burned their mouths, eliciting shouts of laughter; and the whole party soon thought no more of the future, and were happy in the present. How Mrs Clagget's tongue did wag! She was a tall, old lady, going out to a nephew in New Zealand; and, as she was to be the companion of the young Diceys on the voyage, she had been asked to join the Christmas party.

Dinner was just over when voices were heard in the hall singing a Christmas carol, and all the guests went out to listen to the words which told of the glorious event which had, upwards of eighteen hundred years before, occurred in the distant East, and yet was of as much importance to all the human race, and will be to the end of time, as then... Continue reading book >>

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