Archibald Hughson An Arctic Story

Juvenile Fiction/
#Juvenile Fiction #Action & Adventure
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Excerpt Archibald Hughson, a young Shetland lad, having a strong desire to go to sea, and his mother withholding her consent, determines to run from home.—He is treacherously assisted by Max Inkster, a wicked sailor, who succeeds in getting him stowed away on board the “Kate,” a Greenland whaler. “Where are you going, Archy?” asked Maggie Hughson, as she ran after her brother, who was stealing away from the house, evidently not wishing to be intercepted. The young Hughson’s home stood high up on the slope of a hill on the small island of Bressay, one of the Shetland group. Hence the eye ranged over the northern ocean, while to the eastward appeared the isle of Noss, with the rocky Holm of Noss beyond, the abode of numberless sea-fowl, and to be reached by a rope-way cradle over a broad chasm of fearful depth. The house, roofed with stone, and strongly-built, as it needed to be to withstand the fierce gales blowing over that wild sea, was surrounded by patches of cultivated ground, without trench or bank, or a tree to be seen far or near. Archy stopped when he heard his sister’s voice; for, though headstrong and obstinate, he loved her more than any other human being. “I am going over to Lerwick to see Max Inkster,” he answered, looking back at her. “The ‘Kate’ sails to-morrow, and I promised him a visit before he goes.” “Oh, surely you don’t forget that our mother told you she wished you would not have anything to say to that man!” exclaimed Maggie. “He is bad in many ways, and he can only do you harm.” “I am not going to be led by any one,” answered Archy. “I like to hear his tales of the sea, and his adventures when chasing the whale, or hunting white bears, and those sort of things away in Greenland, and perhaps some day I may go to sea myself, and I want to know what sort of a life I am likely to lead. I am not going to be kept digging potatoes, and tending cattle and sheep all my life.” “Oh Archy! don’t think of it,” said Maggie. “It would break our mother’s heart to have you go. You know that our father was lost at sea, and so was uncle Magnus, and many other relations and friends. God will bless you, and you will be far happier, if, in obedience to her, you give up your wild notions and stay at home.” “I am not going to be dictated to, Maggie, by mother or you,” exclaimed Archy. “Max is a fine fellow, notwithstanding what you say. He is expecting me, and I am not going to break my engagement; so, good-bye, Maggie. Go back home, and look after mother—that’s your duty, which you are so fond of talking about.” Maggie, finding that her arguments were of no avail, returned home, as she could not venture longer to leave her mother, who was ill in bed. Archy took his way till he was out of sight of the house, and then from beneath a large stone, he pulled out a bundle, which he slung at the end of a stick over his shoulder, and proceeded across the island till he came to the shore of the sound which divides it from the mainland. Several large black high-sided ships lay at anchor, with numerous boats hanging to the davits, and mostly barque-rigged. They were whalers, belonging to Hull and other English and Scotch ports, on their way to Baffin Bay, or the shores of Greenland. Archy found a boat just about to cross the sound to Lerwick, and, asking for a passage, he jumped in....
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