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SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS PDF

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Swallows and sites by John Arthur Ransome Marriott, , Puffin Books edition, in English. This is not so much a book about Arthur Ransome, whose life and complex character have been explored in every detail, but about his. Swallows and sites. From the outset, the Swallows and sites novels proved popular in the United States, where they were published by Lippincott and promoted by the Junior.


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Swallows and sites is the first book in the Swallows and sites series by English author Arthur Ransome; it was first published in , with the action taking place in the summer of PDF (tablet), tvnovellas.info Swallows and sites Arthur Ransome FlRST PUBLISHED BYJONATHAN CAPE IN NEW ILLlJSTRATED EDITON REPRINTED , Swallows and sites has 35 entries in the series.

The twelve books involve adventures by groups of children, almost all during the school holidays and mostly in England, but including four sailing trips that go outside England. The stories revolve around outdoor activities, especially sailing. Literary scholar Peter Hunt said he believes the series " The series remains popular today. It contributes to the tourist industry in the Lake District and Norfolk Broads areas of England, where many of the books are set.

And I had the eggs just ready when you whistled. The others pushed off Swallow till she floated. Captain John fastened one end of a length of spare rope to a cleat in the stern, and Able-seaman Titty climbed out on the rock with the other end of it. Roger held the painter. Then John came ashore. Titty pulled in on the stern rope and made it fast round a little rowan bush that was growing on the rock. Roger and John made the painter fast round the stump with the white cross on it, and the Swallow lay in the middle of the little harbour in two or three feet of water, moored fore and aft, and sheltered on every side.

Captain John looked at his ship with pride. Then they hurried back to the camp. The camp now began to look really like a camp. There were the two tents slung between the two pairs of trees. The mate and the able-seaman were to sleep in one, and the captain and the boy in the other. Then in the open space under the trees the fire was burning merrily.

The kettle had boiled, and was standing steaming on the ground. Susan was melting a big pat of butter in the frying-pan. In a pudding-basin beside her she had six raw eggs.

She had cracked the eggs on the edge of a mug and broken them into the basin. Their empty shells were crackling in the fire. Four mugs stood in a row on the ground. Egg's awful stuff for sticking to plates. I saw Mrs. Jackson do it. The captain, mate, and the crew of the Swallow squatted round the frying-pan, and began eating as soon as the scrambled eggs, which were very hot, would let them. Mate Susan had already cut four huge slices of brown bread and butter to eat with the eggs.

Then she poured out four mugs of tea, and filled them up 'with milk from a bottle. It too became a common dish, like the frying-pan. Then there were four big slabs of seed-cake. Then there were apples all round. The spoons' had to be cleaned and the frying-pan scraped, and the mugs and puddingbasin swilled in the lake.

The captain and the boy took the telescope, and found a good place on the high ground above the camp at the northern end of the island, where they could lie in a hollow of the rocks and look out between tufts of heather without being seen by anyone.

Close behind them was the tall pine tree that they had seen when they looked at the island from the Peak in Darien. Captain John lay on his back in the heather, and looked up into the tree. Supposing Susan and Titty were here alone, while you and I had gone fishing And it would make a fine lighthouse too. If any of us were sailing home after dark, whoever was left on the island could hoist the lantern, and make the tree into a lighthouse, so that we could find the island however dark it was.

It's got no sticky-out branches. Then no one would have to climb it again. Anybody could tie the lantern to the rope and pull it up. One end would have to be tied to the ring on the top of the lantern, and the other to the bottom so that we could pull it either up or down, and keep it from swinging about.

The anchor rope is much too thick, and the spare rope isn't long enough. I'll have to get some small rope tomorrow; It's a' good thing I had a birthday just before we came here.

We can get plenty of rope with five shillings. You can be wide awake, and not see a thing when you aren't looking. John gave it her, and she stared through it.

He fixed the telescope to his eye, and pointed it the right way. The native, who was Mr. Jackson from the Holly Howe Farm, was rowing his boat with long steady strokes. It looked like a water spider far away. But through the telescope it was easy to see that it was a boat, and to see the big lumps of the haybags and to see that Mother was sitting in the stern. Roger and Titty took turns with the telescope as the boat came nearer.

The captain and the mate went down to the camp to make sure that everything was ready to show the visitors. The captain put his tin box, the big one, against the back of his tent in the middle. He took the little barometer out of it and hung it on the fastener in front of the box. There was nothing else in the tent, so that it was very neat indeed. Titty and the mate had made their tent much more home-like. In the middle of it were the biscuit tins, with the food in them.

These tins made two seats. Then at each side of the tent, where their beds were going to be, they had spread out their blankets and folded in the tops of them. The cooking things were nearly arranged in one corner, just inside the tent. Outside the tent, on the rope on which the tent was hung, two towels were drying. Captain John looked in and then went back to his own tent and spread his and Roger's blankets in the same way.

They certainly made the tent look more as if it had been lived in. And, after all, it would be no bother to put the haybags under them when they came. Mate Susan put a few more sticks on the fire, to make a cheerful blaze. Then they went back to the others. We'll keep Swallow hid. It isn't as if Mother were by herself" "Besides," said Susan, "they are bringing the haybags, and the landing-place is close to the camp.

It'll be much easier to carry them from there than through the thicket at the low end of the island. Mother, the female native in the stern of the rowing boat, pointed between the island and the mainland on the eastern side, to show that she knew what they meant. She said something to the native at the oars, and he glanced over his shoulder, and, pulling strongly with his left for a stroke or two, altered his course. They were passing the head of the island. Roger had already run to the landing-place.

The others of the Swallow were close behind him and when the native ran his boat ashore, the whole ship's company were on the beach, ready to help him to pull the boat up. Now I hope you are going to let the natives see your camp, so that we can help to carry up the haybags. Jackson, the farmer from Holly Howe, had taken all four haybags out of the boat. He was a very powerful, strong native, and he picked up three of the haybags together and hove them up on his shoulders.

John and Susan carried the fourth. Roger took the female native by the hand and Titty showed the way to the tents. Jackson dumped down his haybags. Roger helped, and between them they pulled first one and then another haybag into their tent.

They put one on each side of the tent, punched them and shook them until they were fairly even and covered them with their folded blankets. Then they lay down, each on his bed. Meanwhile Susan and the female native were making up the beds in the other tent.

Jackson had gone back to his boat. Presently the female native put her head into the captain's tent. We've only got the big lantern for the whole camp. Where is the oil for the big lantern? Jackson, came back with another load from the boat. Jackson must be getting back to his farm. But there are several things to be settled. First of all, about the milk. There are no cows on your island, so you will have to go to the mainland for milk.

I have arranged with the farm over there, Dixon's Farm, to let you have a quart of milk every morning. If you want more in the evening, Mrs. Dixon will let you have it. But every morning you must row over there to bring your milk. You can see their landing-place by the big oak tree. Thank you, Mr. In it was a milk-can and a lot of other things. The female native began taking them out as if she were digging the presents out of a bran pie. Keep it out of the sun and do remember to wash the can very clean before you take it up to the farm for more.

Then, for tomorrow, I've brought you a meat pie Mrs. Jackson cooked today. You will soon get tired of living on corned beef By the way, Susan is the chief cook, isn't she? There is the pie. Then I've brought a box of Force for breakfast.

Susan is going to have a busy time without having to cook porridge in the mornings. Jackson came up again from the boat, carrying a big sack. Jackson has been good enough to let you have your pillows here," said the female native. We saw him. And his parrot. Jackson laughed. Turner," said the powerful native.

This year he won't let anyone go near him. Last year those Blackett girls, nieces of his from the other side of the lake, were always with him. Not this year though. Keeps himself to himself this summer, does Mr.

No one knows what he does there, but they do say he's got things in that houseboat worth a fortune. Of course he can't let anybody go near it. And anyhow you don't want too many natives about, I'm sure. It's beginning to get dark and if I were you I should be early to sleep, for the sun will wake you in the morning, even if the birds don't. You've had yours and day is nearly over. Oh," she added, "there's one thing I'd forgotten. Then, as she walked down to the boat she said to John, "I'm not going to keep on coming to bother you You'll be wanting provisions, you know, and we natives can always supply them.

So you'll be calling now and then at Holly Howe, won't you? Jackson, that strong native, pushed the big boat off, kneeling on the gunwale of her as she slid away.

He had the oars out in a moment and pulled away into the evening. They ran to the head of the island, to the look-out place under the tall pine and waved as the boat with the natives rowed away into the dusk.

Long after they could not see the boat they could see the white flashes as the oars lifted from the water. And long after they could not see them at all, they could hear the sound of rowing, growing fainter and fainter in the distance. There was still some light outside, though not much under the trees, but in the tents it was quite dark.

John lit his lantern and took it into his tent and put it on the tin box, which he moved into the middle so that there should be no danger of setting fire to the tent walls.

Then he remembered that the female native had done something in his tent just before she went away. He looked round to see what it was. Pinned to the tent wall near the head of his bed was a scrap of paper. On it was written, "If not duffers won't drown. Susan had put her lantern on one of the two biscuit tins. She and Titty were making their beds comfortable. The tents looked like big paper lanterns glowing under the trees. Shadows moved about inside them. It always takes some time to get comfortable on a haybag the first night.

There were voices. Are you ready for lights out? There was no light now but the glow of the embers on the camp fire. Good night! In a few moments the captain, the mate, the able seaman, and the boy were fast asleep. It began early. Sunshine in a tent is even more waking than sunshine in a room. Titty woke first and lay awake looking at patches of sunlight and shadow playing on the white walls of the tent as the sun came through the waving tops of the trees.

Then she crawled to the door of the tent and put her head out, sniffing the damp morning air and listening to the rustling of the leaves and the noise of ripples on the island shore. Then she heard voices in the other tent. They were waking up there, too. Didn't you know? Is it time to fetch the milk? He had thought of putting it into ship's time, but it would have taken him a moment or two to be sure what it was.

Then we shall all know the way and they will know all of us, so that anybody can go for the milk on other days.

Then the whole crew pushed their way through the undergrowth to the hidden harbour at the south end of the island. There was their ship, moored as they had left her. They paddled her out through the rocks, hoisted the damp brown sail and sailed across to the landing-place by the oak tree. Here they pulled Swallow's nose well up on the beach and tied the painter round a big stone. Then they walked up to Down's Farm together.

Dixon's Farm was not far from the lake, like the farm at Holly Howe, hidden among damson trees at the top of a steep green pasture. They were not sure how they would explain that they were the captain and crew of the Swallow, but Mrs. Dixon saved them that bother, for she said at once, "You'll be come for the milk. I see you've your own can. They're at the milking now. Dixon came in while they were there, a tall thin farmer. They sailed back to the landing-place this time and not to the harbour.

Mate Susan took charge of that, but the others were too hungry to go far from the fire while it was being got ready. Then there was breakfast. Then they went all over the island again, but made no new discoveries. Then, while Mate Susan and Able-seaman Titty were busy in the camp, the captain and the boy sailed away to Holly Howe with the mails. The mails were only one letter, a very short one, but Titty had not thought of writing it until they were nearly ready to set sail.

She would not have had time to write even so much, if it had not been that the wind was blowing rather harder after breakfast and Captain John decided to take a reef in the sail.

While he was giving the boy a lesson in how to do it, Titty wrote her letter. Here it is: "My darling Mother, We send our love from a desert island and hope you are very well. So are we. Your loving, Titty Able-seaman. And so the Swallow carried mails when she sailed for Holly Howe. The wind was really hard and she made a roaring passage of it, heeling over till the water nearly came in over the gunwale and crashing into the little waves so that buckets of water flew up and were driven in wet spray over the boy and the captain.

With the wind from the north-west, they had to beat against it going up the lake to Holly Howe. The little Swallow rushed from one side of the lake to the other and back again, going about at the end of each tack with a shiver and flap of her brown sail, lying down to it as the sail filled and then picking herself up as she gathered speed again and rushed once more across the slapping waves.

On one tack John took her right into Houseboat Bay, close by the houseboat and out again. They went beyond the houseboat before going about and had a good look at her. Titty's pirate was sitting on the after-deck, sheltered from the wind by the cabin and the awning.

They sailed close under the stern of the houseboat and saw him, sitting in his deck-chair, writing at something on his knees. The green parrot was perched on the railing and looked down on the Swallow, while the wind ruffled the green feathers on his back.

The retired pirate looked up for a moment as they passed and then went on with his work. I'm going about now;" The Swallow swung round and headed out of the bay, to pass on the northern side of the huge buoy to which the houseboat was moored.

The brown sail hid the houseboat from John and Roger until they were nearly past the buoy. Just for one moment, however, they had a good view of her bows, when they saw something that made the old blue launch that had been turned into a houseboat seem more pirate-like than ever. Roger saw it first. John was too busy with the steering to look at much else beside the brown sail, to be kept full of wind but not too full, and to think of much else beside keeping the wind on his right cheek and nose as he looked forward.

Swallow was sailing very fast and they saw the thing only for a moment. But there could be no doubt about what it was. Once upon a time, perhaps, it had been used for starting yacht races. Now there it was, on a wooden gun carriage, ready for action. Even for Captain John it was proof that the houseboat was more than an ordinary houseboat. A brass cannon and a green parrot.

He glanced back over his shoulder to see if there was another cannon on the port side. That would have settled the question. There was not. But still, a cannon is a cannon and ships with no secrets do not usually carry even one. Roger was ready to go on talking about the cannon. Captain John was not. You cannot talk about anything when you are sailing a little boat against a hard wind and you cannot listen to anyone who talks to you. You are watching the dark patches on the water that show you a harder puff is coming and you have to be ready at any moment to slacken the sheet or to luff up into the wind.

So Roger Presently stopped trying to talk. At last they passed Darien and reached into the Holly Howe bay. They made the painter fast to a ring on the stone jetty by the boathouse and lowered the sail.

Then they went up the field to the farm. Only three days before Roger, being a sailing ship, had tacked up that field against the wind to find his mother at the gate by Holly Howe with the telegram that had set them free for their adventure. Now he had no need to tack. He had no need to be a sailing ship. He was a real boy from a real ship, come ashore on business with his captain.

Since yesterday the field path and the gate into the wood on the way to Darien and the farm at Holly Howe had all turned into foreign country. They were quite different places now that you came to them by water from an island of your own. They were not at all what they had been when you lived there and saw the island far away over the water. Coming back to them was almost the same thing as exploration. It was like exploring a place that you have seen in a dream, where everything is just where you expect it and yet everything is a surprise.

It seemed queer to walk straight in at the door of Holly Howe Farm. John had very nearly stopped and knocked at it. Inside, everything was as it used to be. Mother was sitting at the table writing to Father. Nurse was sitting in the armchair knitting. Fat Vicky was playing on the floor with a woolly sheep with a black nose.

At least not quite as soon. And tell me, Master Roger, did you remember to clean your teeth? I never packed a tooth glass for you. They were hanging out to dry yesterday when you sailed away and I never noticed them till this morning. You haven't bathed yet from the island? As soon as you can do that you will be all right. But better keep within your depth even then until you are sure you can swim a long way. Now, you get your fishing things together, while I write a mail for you to take back.

They took the four rods to pieces and put each one in its own bag. Supposing Susan and Titty were here alone, while you and I had gone fishing And it would make a fine lighthouse too. If any of us were sailing home after dark, whoever was left on the island could hoist the lantern, and make the tree into a lighthouse, so that we could find the island however dark it was. It's got no sticky-out branches. Then no one would have to climb it again.

Anybody could tie the lantern to the rope and pull it up. One end would have to be tied to the ring on the top of the lantern, and the other to the bottom so that we could pull it either up or down, and keep it from swinging about. The anchor rope is much too thick, and the spare rope isn't long enough.

I'll have to get some small rope tomorrow; It's a' good thing I had a birthday just before we came here. We can get plenty of rope with five shillings. You can be wide awake, and not see a thing when you aren't looking. John gave it her, and she stared through it. He fixed the telescope to his eye, and pointed it the right way. The native, who was Mr.

Pdf amazons swallows and

Jackson from the Holly Howe Farm, was rowing his boat with long steady strokes. It looked like a water spider far away. But through the telescope it was easy to see that it was a boat, and to see the big lumps of the haybags and to see that Mother was sitting in the stern.

Roger and Titty took turns with the telescope as the boat came nearer. The captain and the mate went down to the camp to make sure that everything was ready to show the visitors.

The captain put his tin box, the big one, against the back of his tent in the middle. He took the little barometer out of it and hung it on the fastener in front of the box.

There was nothing else in the tent, so that it was very neat indeed. Titty and the mate had made their tent much more home-like. In the middle of it were the biscuit tins, with the food in them. These tins made two seats. Then at each side of the tent, where their beds were going to be, they had spread out their blankets and folded in the tops of them.

The cooking things were nearly arranged in one corner, just inside the tent. Outside the tent, on the rope on which the tent was hung, two towels were drying. Captain John looked in and then went back to his own tent and spread his and Roger's blankets in the same way.

They certainly made the tent look more as if it had been lived in. And, after all, it would be no bother to put the haybags under them when they came. Mate Susan put a few more sticks on the fire, to make a cheerful blaze.

Then they went back to the others. We'll keep Swallow hid. It isn't as if Mother were by herself" "Besides," said Susan, "they are bringing the haybags, and the landing-place is close to the camp.

It'll be much easier to carry them from there than through the thicket at the low end of the island. Mother, the female native in the stern of the rowing boat, pointed between the island and the mainland on the eastern side, to show that she knew what they meant. She said something to the native at the oars, and he glanced over his shoulder, and, pulling strongly with his left for a stroke or two, altered his course.

They were passing the head of the island. Roger had already run to the landing-place. The others of the Swallow were close behind him and when the native ran his boat ashore, the whole ship's company were on the beach, ready to help him to pull the boat up.

Swallows and Amazons

Now I hope you are going to let the natives see your camp, so that we can help to carry up the haybags. Jackson, the farmer from Holly Howe, had taken all four haybags out of the boat. He was a very powerful, strong native, and he picked up three of the haybags together and hove them up on his shoulders. John and Susan carried the fourth.

Roger took the female native by the hand and Titty showed the way to the tents. Jackson dumped down his haybags. Roger helped, and between them they pulled first one and then another haybag into their tent. They put one on each side of the tent, punched them and shook them until they were fairly even and covered them with their folded blankets.

Then they lay down, each on his bed. Meanwhile Susan and the female native were making up the beds in the other tent. Jackson had gone back to his boat. Presently the female native put her head into the captain's tent. We've only got the big lantern for the whole camp.

Where is the oil for the big lantern? Jackson, came back with another load from the boat. Jackson must be getting back to his farm. But there are several things to be settled. First of all, about the milk. There are no cows on your island, so you will have to go to the mainland for milk. I have arranged with the farm over there, Dixon's Farm, to let you have a quart of milk every morning.

If you want more in the evening, Mrs. Dixon will let you have it. But every morning you must row over there to bring your milk. You can see their landing-place by the big oak tree. Thank you, Mr. In it was a milk-can and a lot of other things. The female native began taking them out as if she were digging the presents out of a bran pie. Keep it out of the sun and do remember to wash the can very clean before you take it up to the farm for more.

Then, for tomorrow, I've brought you a meat pie Mrs. Jackson cooked today. You will soon get tired of living on corned beef By the way, Susan is the chief cook, isn't she? There is the pie. Then I've brought a box of Force for breakfast. Susan is going to have a busy time without having to cook porridge in the mornings. Jackson came up again from the boat, carrying a big sack. Jackson has been good enough to let you have your pillows here," said the female native. We saw him. And his parrot.

Jackson laughed. Turner," said the powerful native. This year he won't let anyone go near him. Last year those Blackett girls, nieces of his from the other side of the lake, were always with him. Not this year though. Keeps himself to himself this summer, does Mr. No one knows what he does there, but they do say he's got things in that houseboat worth a fortune. Of course he can't let anybody go near it.

And anyhow you don't want too many natives about, I'm sure. It's beginning to get dark and if I were you I should be early to sleep, for the sun will wake you in the morning, even if the birds don't. You've had yours and day is nearly over. Oh," she added, "there's one thing I'd forgotten. Then, as she walked down to the boat she said to John, "I'm not going to keep on coming to bother you You'll be wanting provisions, you know, and we natives can always supply them.

So you'll be calling now and then at Holly Howe, won't you? Jackson, that strong native, pushed the big boat off, kneeling on the gunwale of her as she slid away. He had the oars out in a moment and pulled away into the evening.

Swallows and Amazons

They ran to the head of the island, to the look-out place under the tall pine and waved as the boat with the natives rowed away into the dusk. Long after they could not see the boat they could see the white flashes as the oars lifted from the water.

And long after they could not see them at all, they could hear the sound of rowing, growing fainter and fainter in the distance. There was still some light outside, though not much under the trees, but in the tents it was quite dark. John lit his lantern and took it into his tent and put it on the tin box, which he moved into the middle so that there should be no danger of setting fire to the tent walls.

Then he remembered that the female native had done something in his tent just before she went away. He looked round to see what it was. Pinned to the tent wall near the head of his bed was a scrap of paper.

On it was written, "If not duffers won't drown. Susan had put her lantern on one of the two biscuit tins. She and Titty were making their beds comfortable. The tents looked like big paper lanterns glowing under the trees. Shadows moved about inside them. It always takes some time to get comfortable on a haybag the first night.

There were voices. Are you ready for lights out? There was no light now but the glow of the embers on the camp fire. Good night! In a few moments the captain, the mate, the able seaman, and the boy were fast asleep. It began early. Sunshine in a tent is even more waking than sunshine in a room. Titty woke first and lay awake looking at patches of sunlight and shadow playing on the white walls of the tent as the sun came through the waving tops of the trees.

Then she crawled to the door of the tent and put her head out, sniffing the damp morning air and listening to the rustling of the leaves and the noise of ripples on the island shore. Then she heard voices in the other tent. They were waking up there, too. Didn't you know? Is it time to fetch the milk?

He had thought of putting it into ship's time, but it would have taken him a moment or two to be sure what it was. Then we shall all know the way and they will know all of us, so that anybody can go for the milk on other days. Then the whole crew pushed their way through the undergrowth to the hidden harbour at the south end of the island.

There was their ship, moored as they had left her. They paddled her out through the rocks, hoisted the damp brown sail and sailed across to the landing-place by the oak tree. Here they pulled Swallow's nose well up on the beach and tied the painter round a big stone.

Then they walked up to Down's Farm together. Dixon's Farm was not far from the lake, like the farm at Holly Howe, hidden among damson trees at the top of a steep green pasture. They were not sure how they would explain that they were the captain and crew of the Swallow, but Mrs. Dixon saved them that bother, for she said at once, "You'll be come for the milk. I see you've your own can. They're at the milking now.

Dixon came in while they were there, a tall thin farmer. They sailed back to the landing-place this time and not to the harbour. Mate Susan took charge of that, but the others were too hungry to go far from the fire while it was being got ready. Then there was breakfast. Then they went all over the island again, but made no new discoveries. Then, while Mate Susan and Able-seaman Titty were busy in the camp, the captain and the boy sailed away to Holly Howe with the mails. The mails were only one letter, a very short one, but Titty had not thought of writing it until they were nearly ready to set sail.

She would not have had time to write even so much, if it had not been that the wind was blowing rather harder after breakfast and Captain John decided to take a reef in the sail.

While he was giving the boy a lesson in how to do it, Titty wrote her letter. Here it is: So are we. Your loving, Titty Able-seaman.

And so the Swallow carried mails when she sailed for Holly Howe. The wind was really hard and she made a roaring passage of it, heeling over till the water nearly came in over the gunwale and crashing into the little waves so that buckets of water flew up and were driven in wet spray over the boy and the captain.

With the wind from the north-west, they had to beat against it going up the lake to Holly Howe. The little Swallow rushed from one side of the lake to the other and back again, going about at the end of each tack with a shiver and flap of her brown sail, lying down to it as the sail filled and then picking herself up as she gathered speed again and rushed once more across the slapping waves.

On one tack John took her right into Houseboat Bay, close by the houseboat and out again. They went beyond the houseboat before going about and had a good look at her. Titty's pirate was sitting on the after-deck, sheltered from the wind by the cabin and the awning.

They sailed close under the stern of the houseboat and saw him, sitting in his deck-chair, writing at something on his knees. The green parrot was perched on the railing and looked down on the Swallow, while the wind ruffled the green feathers on his back. The retired pirate looked up for a moment as they passed and then went on with his work. I'm going about now;" The Swallow swung round and headed out of the bay, to pass on the northern side of the huge buoy to which the houseboat was moored.

The brown sail hid the houseboat from John and Roger until they were nearly past the buoy. Just for one moment, however, they had a good view of her bows, when they saw something that made the old blue launch that had been turned into a houseboat seem more pirate-like than ever. Roger saw it first. John was too busy with the steering to look at much else beside the brown sail, to be kept full of wind but not too full, and to think of much else beside keeping the wind on his right cheek and nose as he looked forward.

Swallow was sailing very fast and they saw the thing only for a moment. But there could be no doubt about what it was. Once upon a time, perhaps, it had been used for starting yacht races. Now there it was, on a wooden gun carriage, ready for action. Even for Captain John it was proof that the houseboat was more than an ordinary houseboat. A brass cannon and a green parrot.

He glanced back over his shoulder to see if there was another cannon on the port side. That would have settled the question. There was not. But still, a cannon is a cannon and ships with no secrets do not usually carry even one. Roger was ready to go on talking about the cannon. Captain John was not. You cannot talk about anything when you are sailing a little boat against a hard wind and you cannot listen to anyone who talks to you. You are watching the dark patches on the water that show you a harder puff is coming and you have to be ready at any moment to slacken the sheet or to luff up into the wind.

So Roger Presently stopped trying to talk. At last they passed Darien and reached into the Holly Howe bay. They made the painter fast to a ring on the stone jetty by the boathouse and lowered the sail. Then they went up the field to the farm. Only three days before Roger, being a sailing ship, had tacked up that field against the wind to find his mother at the gate by Holly Howe with the telegram that had set them free for their adventure.

Now he had no need to tack. He had no need to be a sailing ship. He was a real boy from a real ship, come ashore on business with his captain. Since yesterday the field path and the gate into the wood on the way to Darien and the farm at Holly Howe had all turned into foreign country. They were quite different places now that you came to them by water from an island of your own.

They were not at all what they had been when you lived there and saw the island far away over the water. Coming back to them was almost the same thing as exploration. It was like exploring a place that you have seen in a dream, where everything is just where you expect it and yet everything is a surprise.

It seemed queer to walk straight in at the door of Holly Howe Farm. John had very nearly stopped and knocked at it. Inside, everything was as it used to be. Mother was sitting at the table writing to Father. Nurse was sitting in the armchair knitting. Fat Vicky was playing on the floor with a woolly sheep with a black nose.

At least not quite as soon. And tell me, Master Roger, did you remember to clean your teeth? I never packed a tooth glass for you. They were hanging out to dry yesterday when you sailed away and I never noticed them till this morning. You haven't bathed yet from the island? As soon as you can do that you will be all right. But better keep within your depth even then until you are sure you can swim a long way.

Now, you get your fishing things together, while I write a mail for you to take back. They took the four rods to pieces and put each one in its own bag. They packed the floats and hooks and reels in a big coffee tin. Meanwhile Nurse made the bathing things into a bundle, tying them all up in a towel. Then Mother came out with two letters, one for Titty, saying, "Love from all the Stay-athomes, and thank you for your nice letter"; and one for Susan, saying that she must ask Mrs.

Dixon for some lettuces, because if they tried to do without green vegetables the crew might get scurvy. Also Mother gave them a big bag of peas. Also she had a big tin of chocolate biscuits. He had forgotten all about it while on land. They sailed straight past well outside Houseboat Bay. They were too far out to see very much, but they saw the man on the houseboat get up and lean on the railing round his afterdeck and look at them through a pair of glasses.

A moment later they had passed the promontory on the southern side of the bay, and the houseboat had disappeared behind it. Soon they were nearing their island, and just as Holly Howe had seemed strange, so now the island seemed home. It was delightful to see it coming nearer, and to think of the tents and the camp, and to see smoke blowing away over the trees and to know that it came from the mate's fire.

She waved and disappeared. Meanwhile the mate and the ableseaman had had a busy time on the island. They had built a little pier of big stones so that they could walk out on it when they wanted to dip some clean water from the lake. It was also very good for rinsing plates and cups. They had peeled potatoes and had been boiling them for a long time, prodding them with a fork to see if they were done, until every potato looked like a sponge.

Then the mate had cut a great pile of bread and butter. Dinner was ready, and Titty came down to meet the Swallow at the landing-place. We saw it. John carried the tin of biscuits and the bag of peas. In a few minutes the four explorers were making short work of the meat pie.

The pie was cold, but the potatoes were so hot that they got left behind.

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No one could eat them as quickly as cold meat pie. So they made a second course. Biscuits and apples made the pudding. Susan read her letter. What is scurvy? The wind had fallen light again, and John went down to the Swallow, and let out the reef in the sail. Then they pushed off, and sailed away beyond the island to the south, where the lake widened and then narrowed again.

Far away in the distance, they could see the smoke of a steamer at the foot of the lake. Susan, of course, was nearly as good a steersman as Captain John. Able-seaman Titty was learning fast, and before they came home even the Boy Roger was allowed to take the tiller, though John sat by him ready to take charge if anything should go wrong.

It was while they were beating home again that they discovered another island. There were plenty of islands in the lake, but this was one they had not noticed, because it was very small, and so near the mainland that they had thought it was a promontory. Now, when they were near the western shore of the lake, tacking homewards, they saw the water clear between the island and the mainland.

It was on the western shore, not quite opposite their own island, but a little further north. At once they made up their minds not to sail home, but to tack a little further up the lake to look at this new island.

We could run through it all right, if there's deep enough water, but it's probably rocky. I won't take her through under sail. But we'll sail right up to the island. It was very small. There was nothing on it but rocks and heather and two dead trees. One of the trees had fallen. The other was still standing. Many of its branches were broken and it had no leaves.

But instead of leaves on the bare tree, there was something else. Three dark birds with long necks were perched on its branches. Titty watched them through the telescope. It perched on one of the boughs, and threw its head up, and swallowed the fish. The other birds were waving their long necks and yawning. The Chinese have cormorants and train them to catch fish for them. I've seen a picture of them. They counted the four birds in the water. Suddenly there were only three.

Then the fourth came up again. Then another disappeared. Then another. Then one came up with a fish and flew back to the bare tree. The other three that were in the water swam fast away with only their heads and necks showing. Then they too lifted themselves from the water and flew after the first. He let the sheet out, and Swallow ran for the southern end of their own island.

As Captain John luffed up into the opening through the outer rocks, Susan brought the sail down, and they paddled Swallow safely through into her little sheltered harbour. After supper they took the telescope up to the Look-Out Point. Until it grew too dark, they could just see the cormorants on the tree on Cormorant Island. But they would not have known what they were if they had not seen them from close to. They lay there, making plans as if they were going to be on the island all their lives.

All explorers do that, but they get most of their food by shooting and fishing. Tomorrow we'll fish, and we'll live on the fish we catch. The landing-place, with its little beach, on the eastern side of the island was a good place for bathing.

There was sand there, and though there were stones, they were not so sharp as elsewhere. Also the water did not go deep there very suddenly, and after Susan had walked out a good long way, she said that Roger might bathe too. Roger, who had been waiting on the beach, pranced splashing into the water. He crouched in the water with only his head out.

That, at least, felt very like swimming. John and Susan swam races, first one way, and then the other. Titty, privately, was being a cormorant. This was not the sort of thing that she could very well talk of to John or Susan until she was sure that it was a success. So she said nothing about it. But she had seen that there were lots of minnows in the shallow water close to the shore. Perhaps there would be bigger ones further out, like the fish the cormorants had been catching yesterday.

Titty had watched them carefully. The way they did it was to swim quietly and then suddenly to dive under water, humping their backs, keeping their wings close together, and going under head first.

She tried, but she found that unless she used her arms, she did not get under water at all. Even when she used her arms she could not get right under without a long, splashing struggle on the surface. It was too true. Titty herself knew that long after she had put her head under and was swimming downwards as hard as she could her legs were kicking out of the water altogether.

She went further out, to be nearer the fish, and further from Roger. At last she found the trick of turning her hands so that her arm strokes pulled her down.

She found that she could open her eyes easily enough, but that it was like trying to see in a bright green fog. There were no fish to be seen in it. With a great effort she got right down to the bottom. Still there were no fish. She came up puffing, then dived again and again.

It was no good. She picked a stone off the bottom to make sure that she had really been there, and came to the top again in a hurry, spluttering and out of breath. There was no doubt about it. The fish could see her coming, and could swim faster than she could. There was nothing for it but fishing rods. She swam in towards the beach holding her stone.

Let's be pearl-divers. No breakfast for anybody who isn't dry and dressed by the time I'm back with the milk. He failed. He could not open his eyes under water either with any ease, and, splashing about in two or three feet of water, he picked up his pearls by feeling for them.

Able-seaman Titty swam about on the bottom with her eyes open, looking for the whitest stones. They were all rather big pearls, but no one really minds a pearl being big, and soon the pearl-divers had a pile of wet and shining jewels by the water-side.

The worst of it was that as soon as the stones were dry - and they dried quickly in the sun - they stopped shining, and could not be counted as pearls any more. Pearl-diving came to an end as soon as the divers saw Captain John coming laden down the field from Dixon's Farm.

There was a sudden splashing rush for the shore, and towels, and long before Captain John came rowing in Swallow, his crew, dry and dressed, were waiting for him on the beach. There was plenty for them to carry, two loaves of bread, a couple of big lettuces, a basket of eggs as well as the milk-can full of milk, and a small tobacco tin. Dixon gave me the worms.

He says there are lots of perch between here and his landing-place. He says we'll do better with minnows than with worms, and he says we'll find the perch anywhere where there are weeds in the water. Then they fished for minnows in the shallows, and caught a good lot of them. Then they unstepped Swallow's mast, and left it ashore with the boom and yard and sail, so that there would be more room in the boat. Susan joined them, and got her rod ready too. Then they rowed across from the island into the bay below Dixon's Farm.

The Boy Roger was in the bows, keeping a look-out for weeds. Are you ready to anchor? So can I. There's grass on it. That means sand. And it's close to the weeds. We couldn't have a better place. Roger let go.

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Swallow swung slowly round. A moment later four red-topped floats were in the water, two on each side of the boat. I can see the minnow easily. A second inconsistency is that while Bridget is only a year old in the first novel, she has aged five years by the time of Secret Water. While the emphasis of all the books is on the activities of the young protagonists, many — generally benevolent — adult characters also appear.

A painfully shy geologist, named Timothy, is also accepted by the children and included in their adventures. The Swallows and sites series has strong links with the real world. Extensive elements of both the characters and the settings can be traced back to incidents in Ransome's life and are the raw material for much discussion and theorising about precise relationships.

This contributes strongly to the series' air of authenticity. Most of the unfinished Coots in the North would also have been set on the lake had Ransome completed it before his death. The lake and the surrounding fells are based on an amalgam of Windermere and Coniston Water , places where Ransome spent much of his childhood and later life.

Many places in the books can be identified with real locations in the area, though Ransome has modified the real location in producing his fictional setting. Generally, the geography of the lake resembles Windermere though Wild Cat Island has a number of important elements from Peel Island on Coniston Water while the fells and hills surrounding it more closely resemble the area around Coniston.

Coot Club and The Big Six are set in an accurate representation of the Norfolk Broads, particularly the small village of Horning and its surrounding rivers and broads. Coots in the North also begins in the Broads before moving to the lake in the north. These stories appear to be metafictional in relation to the rest of the series, and were originally planned by Ransome see below as stories written by the children. The final published works, however, are presented simply as continuing adventures in the series, though different in a number of ways.

Most obvious is the inclusion of a limited level of fear and violence which is noticeably absent from other stories in the series. Both books are described on their title pages as "based on information supplied by the Swallows and sites", a description which is absent from the rest of the books in the series.

They describe the story of Peter Duck being made up by the Walkers and Blacketts on a wherry in the Norfolk Broads during the winter following the events described in Swallows and sites. This composition was later referenced in Swallowdale , but not in Peter Duck itself. The final complete book, Great Northern? This book is sometimes included with Peter Duck and Missee Lee as metafictional because the story would involve the children being away from school during the nesting season, which is during term time.

Another reason is the use of firearms which is reasonable in the context of the plot but seems to be at odds with the more peaceful adventures of most of the rest of the series. The following diagram shows the implied timeline of the books in the series.

Current editions of the Swallows and sites series have illustrations which were drawn by Ransome himself. The first edition of Swallows and sites was published almost without illustrations.

Ransome so disliked the pictures by Steven Spurrier that were commissioned by his publisher, Jonathan Cape , that the only pictures in the first edition were the end paper map of the lake and a map of Wild Cat Island. For the second edition, Clifford Webb was commissioned to produce the illustrations which met with grudging approval from Ransome. Webb also illustrated Swallowdale , but Ransome decided that he would personally illustrate the third book, Peter Duck. As this book was supposedly based on information supplied by the children themselves, Ransome drew the pictures as though done by the characters.

These illustrations were so popular that Ransome illustrated the remainder of his books himself. In , he drew his own pictures for Swallows and sites and Swallowdale to replace Webb's. Ransome's pictures were done in pen and ink with no colour, although colours have been added by some publishers in later editions. Typically, figures in the pictures are shown from the back, though there are some which show the faces of a few of the characters. Taqui Altounyan , the oldest of the children to whom the first edition of Swallows and sites was dedicated, recalls that "He shirked drawing faces and got over that difficulty with back views of shaggy heads of hair or hats".

The sixth book in the series, Pigeon Post , won the inaugural Carnegie Medal from the Library Association in June , recognising the best children's book by a British subject.

Ellen Lewis Buell welcomed the latest work in the six-year-old series that had firmly established "a special niche in juvenile literature". She noted the children's "vivid collective imagination which turned play into serious business" hunting a gold mine on the moors and observed, "It is the portrayal of this spirit which makes play a matter of desperate yet enjoyable earnestness which gives their distinctive stamp to Mr.

Ransome's books. Because he understands the whole-heartedness of youth he can invest a momentary experiment, such as young Roger's Indian scout work, with real suspense. Arthur Ransome and Capt. Flint's Trunk.