Young Crusoe -
by Hofland, Barbara - 1770-1844
pub. by John Heywood, Bristol, England, (orig. about 1840) this edition 1894 isbn -none- several pen and ink illustrations 164 p. - -
Subtitle is The adventures of a shipwrecked boy on the island of St. Paul., in the Indian Ocean in the year 1826
There are many editions. some are 164 pages long. - There is a Kindle edition dated 2011. which lists a print length of 116 pages. ASIN = B004J8HTNA - There is another edition in the British Library listed as being published in 1896.
The Crusoe family lives in India, where the father is a successful businessman. The family decides to move back to England. The mother and daughter return first while the father remains, with the son, Charles, to close up the business.
Some time before the move began, young Charles Crusoe after reading Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe asks his father about the story and gets good information in response. Charles attempts to imitate Robinson Crusoe in little ways related to self sufficiency. Mother and daughter go to England. Over a year later Mr Crusoe and son take a ship to leaving India for England. Charles Indian servant, Sambo, accompanies them. A great storm comes up and most aboard attempt to leave in a small boat as the ship becomes unsafe. The small boat founders and all those are lost. The elderly and sick captain, Charles, his father and the servant remain aboard until the ship wrecks on St. Paul Island in the southern Indian Ocean. The captain dies of his illness. Both the Charles and his father also have a fever. They explore the small island and the father attaches a sheet to a tree on a hill as a distress signal. They enlarge a small cave for shelter. Then while the father walks around the island he dissappears. The servant dissappears with at the same time. Young Charles Crusoe is left alone. He survives his fever, wonders what happened to his father and the servent friend. Charles experiences what the storied Robinson Crusoe did, being alone on a deserted island.
Many months later he is rescued, his father in attendance with an intersting tale on how he was taken off the island and survived. They return to England and a good family reunion.
This book was very likely written in the late 1830s. It is set in 1826. The language and mannerisms are archaic to the modern reader. One can view that as an irritation or a challenge. For me, it added to the charm of the story.
The reason I got and read this book was that it purported to involve St. Paul Island. I have an interest in that place mostly due to a description in Alan Villiers book on the Indian Ocean. It became readily apparent that the author of this book knew that it, and neighboring Amsterdam Island existed. She must have located them on a map and used them in her story. She either used literary license or misunderstood, as she portrayed Amsterdam Island as volcanic and St. Paul Island as more flat. In reality St. Paul Island is quite obviously the caldera of an ancient volcano. The description of the island, its flora and fauna is totally wrong in reality, but good for the story. - This is a fine story, but just a story, which reveals much more about the way of life in the British Empire in the 1820 - 1830 time period.
The author wrote many books for children during her life. This one is not the most often published of her works.
It is an interesting read - for the flavor of the time.
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