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Dick Cheveley His Adventures and Misadventures   By: (1814-1880)

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Dick Cheveley, His Adventures and Misadventures, by W.H.G Kingston.

Dick is the teenage son of an early nineteenth century vicar in England. The boy has a passionate desire to go to sea, but his family, especially his Aunt Deb, oppose this. One reason is that if he were to go as a midshipman he would be required to have at least fifty pounds a year to keep appearances up, and that money wasn't available.

He forms a friendship with another boy, Mark, who gets into trouble for being a poacher. Dick peaches on the local smugglers, who imprison him, and he is nearly killed by them.

Wandering out of curiosity round the decks of a ship that is about to sail he falls through a hatchway, and right down into the lower hold. When he comes to the ship is at sea, and the hold is battened down. It takes him several weeks before he can attract attention. But the captain is a horrible man, and some of the crew are not much better. Eventually Dick jumps ship by stealing a ship's dinghy, and lands on a tiny rocky islet. The dinghy is lost in a storm. Eventually Dick is rescued and is taken back to his home town, where he vows never to go to sea again.

The story was written as a cautionary tale to advise boys like Dick never to go to sea as a stowaway, which is effectually what Dick did, and was inspired by a real case, in which the boy was found dying after only thirteen days at sea.



So extraordinary are the adventures of my hero, Master Richard Cheveley, son of the Reverend John Cheveley, vicar of the parish of S , in the county of D , that it is possible some of my readers may be inclined to consider them incredible, but that they are thoroughly probable the following paragraph which appeared in the evening edition of the Standard early in the month of November, 1879, will, I think, amply prove. I have no fear that any sensible boys will be inclined to follow Dick's example; but if they will write to him at Liverpool, where he resides, and ask his advice, as a young gentleman did mine lately, on the subject of running away to sea, I am very sure that he will earnestly advise them to stay at home; or, at all events, first to consult their fathers or mothers, or guardians, or other relatives or friends before they start, unless they desire to risk sharing the fate of the hapless stowaway here mentioned:

"A shocking discovery was made on board the National steamer England , which arrived in New York from Liverpool on the 29th October. In discharging the cargo in the forehold a stowaway was found in a dying state. He had made the entire passage of thirteen days without food or drink. He was carried to the vessel's deck, where he died."

My young correspondent, in perfect honesty, asked me to tell him how he could best manage to run away to sea. I advised him, as Mr Richard Cheveley would have done, and I am happy to say that he wisely followed my advice, for I have since frequently heard from him. When he first wrote he was an entire stranger to me. He has had more to do with this work than he supposes. I have the pleasure of dedicating it to him.



Some account of my family, including Aunt Deb My father receives an offer A family discussion, in which Aunt Deb distinguishes herself Her opinions and mine differ considerably My desire to go to sea haunts my dreams My brother Ned's counsel I go a fishing in Leighton Park I meet with an accident My career nearly cut short A battle with a swan, in which I get the worst of it A courageous mother Mark Riddle to the rescue An awkward fix Mark finds a way out of it Old Roger's cottage The Riddle family Roger Riddle's yarns and their effect on me Mark takes a different view It's not all gold that glitters The model My reception at home... Continue reading book >>

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