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Old 03-20-2009, 05:08 AM   #1
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Kingston, W.H.G.: Sunshine Bill v1 20 mar 2009

Bill's father is a wherry-man in Portsmouth Harbour, who one day has an accident and is killed. Bill's mother is a seller of apples. The whole family are a happy, good-humoured lot. Bill is befriended by a Captain Trevelyan, who offers him a boy seaman's place in his ship, the Lilly. So Bill goes off to sea, knowing that it would be perhaps four years or more before he would see his family again.

His companions as boy seamen include Tommy Rebow, a somewhat weaker lad than Bill. The crew are all reasonably pleasant people, maybe grumbling
occasionally, but all getting on well together.

But all is not sunshine, for there are hurricanes, fallings overboard, and other serious mishaps resulting in some swimming. Some fighting with the French, some encounters with sharks, some days with little or no food and water. But they get through it all, giving heartfelt thanks to God for each release from their ordeals. They were taking a captured prize to Jamaica, when a lot of this occurred, and it was a considerable time before they found themselves back on board the Lilly, and homeward bound.

Kingston, William Henry Giles (1814-1880), English novelist, son of Lucy Henry Kingston, was born in London on the 28th of February 1814. Much of his youth was spent at Oporto, where his father was a merchant, but when he entered the business, he made his headquarters in London. He early wrote newspaper articles on Portuguese subjects. These were translated into Portuguese, and the author received a Portuguese order of knighthood and a pension for his services in the conclusion of the commercial treaty of 1842.

In 1844 his first book, The Circassian Chief, appeared, and in 1845 The Prime Minister, a Story of the Days of the Great Marquis of Pombal. The Lusitanian Sketches describe Kingston’s travels in Portugal.

In 1851 Peter the Whaler, his first book for boys, came out. These books proved so popular that Kingston retired from business, and devoted himself to the production of tales of adventure for boys. Within thirty years he wrote upwards of one hundred and thirty such books. He had a practical knowledge of seamanship, and his stories of the sea, full of thrilling adventures and hairbreadth escapes, exactly hit the taste of his boy readers.

Characteristic specimens of his work are The Three Midshipmen; The Three Lieutenants; The Three Commanders; and The Three Admirals. He also wrote popular accounts of famous travellers by land and sea, and translated some of the stories of Jules Verne.

In all philanthropic schemes Kingston took deep interest; he was the promoter of the mission to seamen; and he acted as secretary of a society for promoting an improved system of emigration. He was editor of the Colonist for a short time in 1844 and of the Colonial Magazine and East Indian Review from 1849 to 1851. He was a supporter of the volunteer movement in England from the first.

He died at Willesden on the 5th of August 1880.(www.athelstane.co.uk)
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