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Fritz and Eric The Brother Crusoes   By:

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Fritz and Eric, or the Brother Crusoes

by John Conroy Hutcheson This is rather an extraordinary book, because it consists of two rather different eras in the lives of two brothers. In the first the brother Fritz takes part in the Franco Prussian war of 1870 71, and is severely wounded, but survives just. He is tended by a beauteous maiden, with whom he falls in love.

Meanwhile the brother Eric has gone to sea in what turns out to be a rotten old vessel, which sinks in southern waters. There are some survivors, but Eric is not among them, and is presumed dead.

Fritz departs for America, and is wondering how to get a job. He meets a whaling captain and they are having a chat in a bar when who should appear but Eric, who has had a miraculous rescue, but has never had a chance of writing home. The two brothers decide they will get the whaling ship to drop them off on a very remote island in the South Atlantic, Inaccessible Island, where they will spend a year sealing, and make their fortunes from the skins they get during the year.

There are many vicissitudes, and they do make their fortunes, but not from sealing. There are so many tense situations, so very well described, that the book might almost have come from the pen of George Manville Fenn. A well written and interesting book, and with a very good description of the Franco Prussian War, the war which is so often forgotten about. N.H.





"Time is getting on, little mother, and we'll soon have to say farewell!"

"Aye, my child. The parting is a sad one to me; but I hope and trust the good God will hold you in His safe keeping, and guide your footsteps back home to me again!"

"Never you fear, little mother. He will do that, and in a year's time we shall all meet again under the old roof tree, I'm certain. Keep your heart up, mother mine, the same as I do; remember, it is not a `Farewell' I am saying for ever, it is merely `Auf wiedersehen!'"

"I hope so, Eric, surely; still, we cannot tell what the future may bring forth!" said the other sadly.

Mother and son were wending their way through the quaint, old fashioned, sleepy main street of Lubeck that led to the railway station a bran new modern structure that seemed strangely incongruous amidst the antique surroundings of the ancient town. Although it was past the midday hour, hardly a soul was to be seen moving about; and the western sun lighted up the green spires of the churches and red tiled pointed roofs of the houses, glinting from the peculiar eye shaped dormer windows of some of the cottages with the most grotesque effect and making them appear as if winking at the onlooker. It seemed like a scene of a bygone age reproduced on the canvas of some Flemish artist; and, but that Eric and his mother were accustomed to it, they must have rubbed their eyes, like Rip Van Winkle when he came down from the goblin haunted mountain into the old village of his youth, in doubt whether all was real, thinking it might be a dream. Presently, however, they were at the railway station, and they would have been convinced, if they had felt inclined to believe otherwise, that they were living in the present. But, even here, amid all the hissing of steam, and creaking of carriages, and whirr of moving machinery, the queer old world costumes of the peasantry, with their quaint hats and mantles, which more resembled the stage properties of a Christmas pantomime than the known dress of any people of the period, all spoke of the past a past when the great Barbarossa reigned in Central Europe, and when there were "Robbers of the Rhine," and "Forty thousand virgins," in company with Saint Ursula, canonising the sainted and scented city of Cologne. Ah, those days of long ago!

"Here we are at last, mother," said Eric, slinging the bag containing his sea kit on to the railway platform... Continue reading book >>

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