Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Masterman Ready
Frederick Marryat (1792–1848)
Masterman Ready; or, The Wreck of the Pacific, by Captain Marryat (1842). This book was written with a double motive: to amuse the author’s children, and to correct various errors which he found in a work of a similar nature, ‘The Swiss Family Robinson.’  1
  Mr. Seagrave and his family, returning to their Australian home after a visit to England, are shipwrecked on an uninhabited island with their black servant Juno, and Masterman Ready, an old sailor. As they see no signs of immediate relief, they build a house and make themselves comfortable. They cultivate and explore the island, finding many animals of which they make use, and build a strong stockade around the house in order to be fortified in case of attack. It is not long before they are glad to avail themselves of its protection against a band of cannibals from a neighboring island. They beat off the savages again and again, but are kept in a close state of siege until their water gives out. Ready, attempting to procure some from an unprotected part of the inclosure, is severely wounded by a savage who has managed to steal upon him unawares. Another and more determined attack is made, which seems certain of success, when the booming of cannon is heard and round shot come plowing through the ranks of the terrified savages, who now think of nothing but safety. The shots come from a schooner commanded by Captain Osborn, the former master of the Pacific, who has come to rescue the Seagraves. Ready dies of his wounds and is buried on the island, and the survivors are carried in safety to Australia. The story is told in an interesting and entertaining manner, and is enlivened throughout by the many amusing experiences of Tommy Seagrave, the scapegrace of the family. The descriptions of the ingenious contrivances of the castaways are accurately given and form an interesting feature of the book.  2

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