The Adventures of Billy Topsail

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The Adventures of Billy Topsail The Adventures of Billy Topsail

by Norman Duncan

Genre: Fiction

Published: 2013

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YOU must not be surprised because the adventures of Billy Topsail and a few of his friends fill this book. If all the adventures of these real boys were written the record would fill many books. This is not hard to explain. The British Colony of Newfoundland lies to the north of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to the east of the Canadian Labrador. It is so situated that the inhabitants may not escape adventures. On the map, it looks bleak and far away and inhospitable—a lonely island, outlying in the stormy water of the Atlantic. Indeed, it is all that. The interior is a vast wilderness—a waste place. The folk are fishermen all. They live on the coast, in little harbours, remote, widely scattered, not connected by roads; communication is only by way of the sea. They are hospitable, fearless, tender, simple, willing for toil; and, surely, little else can be said of a people. Long, long ago, their forbears first strayed up that forbidding shore in chase of the fish; and[6] the succeeding generations, though such men as we are, have there lived their lives, apart from the world\'s comforts and delights as we know them. The land is barren; sustenance is from the sea, which is moody and cold and gray: thus life in that far place has many perils and deprivations and toilsome duties. The boys of the outports are like English-speaking boys the world over. They are merry or not, brave or not, kind or not, as boys go; but it may be that they are somewhat merrier and braver and kinder than boys to whom self-reliance and physical courage are less needful. At any rate, they have adventures, every one of them; and that is not surprising—for the conditions of life are such that every Newfoundland lad intimately knows hardship and peril at an age when the boys of the cities still grasp a hand when they cross the street.

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