Dienstag, 19. April 2016

Joseph Finnemore: Illustrations to The Swiss Family Robinson, 1st part

Joseph Finnemore (1860-1939) was born in Birmingham in 1860 and educated at the Birmingham School of Art and in Antwerp under Michel Marie Charles Verlat. Following a tour of Europe and the Near East in the early 1880, he settled in London in 1884. He was a prolific book and magazine illustrator, who worked particularly for the Religious Tract Society.
He was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Royal Society of British Artists (from 1893) and Royal Institute (from 1898).
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss  in a  New Version by E. A. Brayley Hodgetts was published 1897 London.


For six terrible days the storm had continued, and on the seventh, instead of allaying its fury, it seemed to rage, if possible, more dreadfully than before. We had been driven so far south-east from our course that nobody knew where we were. All were disheartened and exhausted by weeks of hard work. The masts were partly disabled, we had sprung a leak, and the water in the hold was rapidly rising. 

A wave struck me, knocked me down, and wetted me to the skin. Battling with the elements,
I managed to regain my feet. When I was able to look round I discovered, to my dismay, that the boats, filled with people, were putting off.

But this little fellow had scarcely opened the cabin door, when two formidable mastiffs joyfully jumped at him, and welcomed him in their clumsy though friendly manner so roughly that he rolled down on the deck and screamed for his life. The poor beasts were so tame with hunger that they kept whining with pleasure, and licked him all over, while he was trying to beat them off.

The tide was at mid-flood as we shoved off from the wreck, and I had calculated on its aiding our indifferent rowing powers.We succeeded in getting safely through the breach in the wreck outto sea. The children devoured with their eyes the rocky coast, upon which Fred could already descry trees and even palms. Ernest was delighted at this, and looked forward to eating cocoanuts, which were larger and better than walnuts. It took some time to get any way on the boat, but we cheerfully paddled on.

While I was looking round for a more favourable spot, I heard a piercing scream from Jack. Seizing my axe, I rushed to his assistance, and found him in a shallow place, standing up to his knees in water, while a huge lobster had seized him by the leg.

" Now, children," I said, " let us taste these dainties," and I swallowed one of them, much against my inclination. The boys were surprised, and cried : " But are not oysters delicious?" However, when they proceeded to examine them more closely, they were less emphatic.

We kept carefully along the beach, and were too much engrossed in watching the sea to be mindful of the beautiful scenery on land, for we hoped to descry the boats of our companions. Nevertheless we did not neglect to look for footprints along the shore, or other traces, without, however, finding any signs of them.

The fertile appearance of the country soothed me, for I realised that we were threatened neither by hunger nor want...

For the young monkey had scarcely seen him when it jumped on his back, and caught hold of his hair so firmly that no screams and no efforts would make it relax its grasp. I ran up to quiet poor Fred as soon as I could, and told him there was no danger; but the boy's fright was so comic that I could not help laughing.

We were terrified to see by the pale moonlight a fierce battle. A dozen jackals had surrounded our mastiffs, but these had already settled three or four of their opponents, and were keeping the others at bay. Fred and myself at once took aim, and two of the marauders were stretched on the sand, while two others limped wounded after their routed companions.

The dogs lay quietly near us while this was going on ; but we now noticed that they had not come out of their fights of last night with a whole skin, for they had several bites and wounds, especially at the throat.

We led it up to the side, placed it sideways, and pushed it into the water. It fell heavily, and the water closed over it;

...and Ernest suggested satirically that he should nail his belt to a board, to protect the skin from the sun. Jack adopted this advice, without paying any attention to his brothers chaff, and had speedily buckled on a board, with which he strutted about quite proudly.

We found little on the beach, and most of the things that had been washed ashore proved too heavy for us to carry.

At these words Ernest drew the ramrod from his gun, and made plenty of room for me, hitting right and left, killing many of the birds, and driving away the others. Fred now cut several
broad strips of skin off the shark's body, very much as Jack had' done with the jackal, and we got into our boat again.

Thus we hauled our raft, piece by piece, on shore up to the brook, at the spot which Jack
had selected, and which had met with my approval.

Mother and Fred formed the vanguard ; the cow and donkey, with the knightly Frank, followed next. The goats, commanded by Jack, formed the third section.

" Hulloa ! What wonderful trees !" shouted Ernest. " They are tremendous, father ; are they not ?"

...the other only winged, and jumped up again immediately, and ran off on his long, stiltlike legs across the swamp and reeds. I ran after the fugitive, who was caught up by Bill, and held down till I arrived. 1 took the bird under my arm, and carried it with some difficulty back to the others. The boys were delighted, and looked forward towards taming it.

The boys cheered, and wanted to climb up at once. But I chose Jack as the best suited to make the first ascent, being both light and nimble.

Our hammocks were soon slung, and thus towards evening our new abode was ready for occupation.

" My children, once upon a time there was a great King, and his Kingdom was called the Kingdom of Truth, or of Day, because light and work were its great characteristics...

...while I squatted on the grass to make a bow for Frank ; for I thought it would be good for the boys to practise with bows and arrows, and so save our supply of gunpowder.

To this all agreed, and we were soon ready to start. Fred had girded on the tail of his tiger-cat, although his cases were not ready. Jack strutted along in his porcupine helmet. We all carried guns and bags, for we did not know what we might encounter on our way.

I now mustered my party for the return journey ; and we made a comic company, with our jabbering ducks and geese strapped behind us. Our laughter consoled us for the weight of our load, of which we did not begin to complain until we reached our aerial castle.

But Fred brought me the welcome news that he had discovered a pinnace, with all its requisites and fittings, in the hold, and a couple of small cannon.

" What is this bread called in America ? " they asked me now. I explained to them that it was called cassava, which the savages prepared by scraping the manioc on a board with sharp stones and shells.

 " At last she is mine !" I shouted : " the glorious pinnace ! Now we will soon get her launched."

On my arrival I was delighted to find the bird was a splendid hen bustard, which was already partially overpowered. In order to get it alive, 1 seized a favourable moment, and threw my handkerchief over its head, and secured it so that the bird could not see.

 Nothing daunted, he returned to the charge, and this time succeeded in seizing the little fellow by the body, and bringing him out squeaking terribly.

Here I for the first time noticed a small palm, which I took to be the sago plant, for I saw that a stem which had been broken by the wind contained a quantity of marrow of the substance of flour, and upon tasting it I at once identified it as sago.

 Soon after darkness had set in, a majestic peal of thunder and a splendid column of fire announced the destruction of the wreck. With it the last link with home seemed to be broken.

...and walked slowly up the tree, while his brothers stood looking at him with their mouth wide open.

 Fred good-naturedly gave him a place beside the green parrot, upon a root of a tree, and tied him to it with a long cord, so that he might have a little scope, taking off the hood, by means of which he had been kept quiet. But the little bird immediately displayed the wildness of his nature, and looked so fierce that all our fowls bolted. The poor parrot alone, who was too close to him, could not get away, and was instantly torn to pieces before we had time to interfere.

But their rashness was severely punished, for the bees resented the intrusion, came out in a fury, and began to sting them all over, driving them off in all directions.

One morning, soon after we had got up and were just putting the finishing touches to our staircase, we were startled by the sound of the horrible roaring of some monster of the forest. Our dogs grew restless, and we were ourselves not a little alarmed. We seized our guns and pistols, and took up a position in our eyrie in the tree.

Our first care was to tame the new arrival, and train it for driving and riding.

 We had to descend from our pleasant eyrie in the branches and take up our abode on the ground among the roots under our bamboo roof, for the wind and rain made life in the branches impossible.

 " I have it!" I exclaimed, as I jumped up from my seat remembering that we had reserved, among other things, a case containing rockets and grenades, which were intended for signalling purposes. Quickly I started for the tent, followed by the curious boys. I took out a couple, and gave them some also, and with these we returned to the opening in the yawning cavern. " Now we will exorcise these evil spirits of the air," I said, as I fired my first grenade.
It went off with a bang in the horrible cave, and the sparks flew about like meteors, and a stream of mephitic air poured out of the opening. The rockets had also a splendid effect ;
they fizzed about the place like dragons and revealed to us the beautiful vaulted dome of the cavern, and then left all in darkness again.

But, on reflection, I concluded it was most probably a shoal of herrings.

 The eagle had marked its prey, lifted itself above it, and swooped down. As soon as the bustards saw it they showed signs of fear, and did all they could to evade it,—now thronging together, now scattering over a wide area. But the eagle was not to be baulked of its prey.

Here, after a short rest, we tackled the canoe. We gave it ribs and hawse-pieces, a knee-piece fore and aft to strengthen it, and a keel to stiffen it. Along the sides we constructed a border of
supple poles and laths, to which we attached iron rings for our digging- By way of ballast I put in some heavy stones, which I cemented together by means of clay ; over these I made a floorof planks, and seats were fitted across. The mast was placed amidships, with a triangular sail ; and aft I attached a rudder, by means of a couple of door hinges, which had a long arm projecting into the canoe.

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