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The White Squall A Story of the Sargasso Sea   By:

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The White Squall, by John Conroy Hutcheson Tom is a thirteen year old whose father is a Naval Officer on the half pay list. This dates the events, for Tom has read two of Captain Marryatt's books, which were published in the 1830s, while his father would have been recalled to duty in time for the Crimean War, so we'll put the date down as the 1840s.

The action starts in the West Indies, where Tom's father has bought a property. Tom has an accident on his way to meet his father on the way from a short visit to another island. Tom is to be sent to an English school, and on his recovery he is taken down to the harbour, and put in charge of a ship's Captain.

The journey back to England has every misadventure that can be thought of, including a White Squall, which we would probably today call a Line Squall. The vessel is capsized. How do they recover it?

Eventually they arrive in England. And that is the end of the story, which really is an introduction to ships for young persons of about thirteen years of age.

It isn't too long, and you'll enjoy it.

THE WHITE SQUALL, BY JOHN CONROY HUTCHESON

CHAPTER ONE.

MOUNT PLEASANT.

"Jake!"

"Dat me, Mass' Tom."

"Have you heard the gun fire yet?"

"Golly, no, Mass' Tom."

"Then you must go up the hill at once and see whether the mail steamer has been signalled or not. She ought to have been in sight by now; for, she's been expected since early this morning, and we're all anxious about the news from England."

"All right, Mass' Tom, me go for see, suah."

"Look alive then, Jake, and lose no more time in starting. Let me just see how quickly you can get up to the Battery and back again; and mind, Jake, if the packet should be in, you can saddle my pony when you return for me to ride into town."

"Berry well, Mass' Tom. I'se spec, railly for true, um go dere in brace of shakes, an' back 'gain hyar 'fore dat lazy ole niggah Pomp fetch him cutlash out o' stable an' go in bush to cut him guinea grass for de hosses. Golly, dat so, Mass' Tom see if um don't for suah, yah, yah!"

Jake broke off into a huge guffaw, as he shouted out these hurried words in high glee, laughing with all that hearty abandon which was such a strong characteristic of his genuine African nature. Such was the intensity of his merriment, indeed, that he opened his wide red lipped mouth almost from ear to ear, disclosing a brilliant set of shining teeth, whose ivory whiteness contrasted conspicuously with the jetty blackness of his sable skin. The willing fellow then went off on his mission at a slinging jog trot, evidently determined to make his promise good of outstripping his more lethargic rival Pompey, whom he was absurdly jealous of and ever eager to surpass in every way he could.

I watched him on his onward way from the raised terrace, laid out as an ornamental garden, in front of our square, one storied, shingle roofed, verandah encircled West Indian home which lay nestled in a gorgeous wealth of tropical foliage and was perched half way up the side of a mountain peak that protected it from hurricane blasts in the rear; and, I could see Jake spinning rapidly along the winding carriage drive, bordered with cocoa nut trees and grou grou palms in lieu of the oaks and elms of old England. In another second, ere the sound of his merry chuckle had ceased to re echo in the distance, he had passed through the swing gate that gave admittance to the grounds.

The lawn sloped downwards from the house, following the curve of the hill, and was studded with orange trees, whose golden fruit peeped through their shining green leaves, shaddocks, and mangosteen, with many a stately palmiste rearing its tall feathery head above the others; while, in addition, the wild locust, or iron wood tree, the mammee apple, the pomme rose and the guava bush flourished between huge blocks of stone, with flat table surfaces and of probable volcanic origin, that seemed to have been thrown at random upon the surface of the grassy expanse, where they now rested, monoliths of the past... Continue reading book >>




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