Excerpt from The Last Gentleman Adventurer by Edward Beauclerk Maurice, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Last Gentleman Adventurer

by Edward Beauclerk Maurice

The Last Gentleman Adventurer by Edward Beauclerk Maurice
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2005, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2006, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


'Shall I go ahead, sir?' shouted the captain.

'How the devil can you go ahead when I'm stuck?' roared back the Russian.

'Shall I try?' 'Oh, go to hell if you want to,' snapped the Russian.

The Nascopie broke through the ice jam to lead the convoy into harbour, and for good measure, on the way home, she sank a submarine. Small wonder that she grew on us almost as though she were human.

On that first Monday morning, however, we were not greatly impressed. In fact by the time we had finished carrying the heavy mail boxes – and it is extraordinary how heavily a year's mail can weigh – we were not sorry to see the last of her for the day.

We soon made friends around our temporary home. One Saturday night, a French Canadian family held a wedding reception in the building. Two or three of us were hanging about so they invited us to join the party. During the evening, we were approached by a rather unsteady-looking man who, after casting a glance at a priest standing near by, said in a deep but penetrating whisper: 'H.B.C. eh? Do you know what that means? ''Here before Christ,'' that's what it means!' 

He told us that he had been trading with the company for over thirty years. Ian asked him if he had retired and the man roared with laughter.

'Retired?' he shouted. 'I'm never going to retire. They'll find me one day somewhere along the trail and I hope they'll leave me there.' He waved his arm round the room then went on.

'This sort of thing's not for me. I only came because she happens to be a niece. I'll not be down this way again. Victor's my name. They'll know me up the river. I don't have much in this world but I'm free. I go where I like when I like and I'm off home in the morning.' He waved his arm and marched off towards the table where the food was set out. I was often to think about Victor in the years to come, his boisterous good health, his obvious contentment with the life he had chosen, and his best clothes, which looked as if they had not been worn for many a long day.

We met three sisters at the wedding too who had come from Three Rivers and had made the trip down with their father and mother. They were good fun and Ian Smith and I and another chap took them out for a picnic the next day, as they spent the weekend in the city. It was the first time that I had ever been out with a girl other than my sister, and one of them, Laurette, said she would write to me. I rashly promised to write and send her a fur from wherever I was. She did write too but alas did not receive the promised fur.

By the end of the next week, so far as we could see, the Nascopie was just about fully laden. We were not surprised to be told to pack up again in preparation for moving on. Then at the last minute, because of the shortage of accommodation on the ship, Ian, myself and three others were told that we were to take passage on another freighter, which was going up as far north as the Labrador coast and Ungava Bay. Somewhere up there we should join up again with the Nascopie. This meant that we should be sailing a few days later.

The evening before we parted we all clubbed together to buy some beer and had a small party – at least we sang songs and were generally very noisy. Now that we knew that we were to be northerners, an air of easy comradeship settled over the gathering and it seemed likely that we should have much to do with each other over the next few years. Such is the remoteness of life in the Arctic that I was only to see three of the dozen or so present after that season.

The five of us that were to be left behind went down to the docks to see the rest of our party depart. Prepared for laughter and banter, we had not expected the sailing of the little ship to be so stirring. The vessel was bedecked in pennants, apart from the Red Ensign at the stern and the Blue Peter at the mainmast. A detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in their scarlet uniforms, was drawn up on the deck for inspection by a high-ranking officer. There were priests, government officials, traders, doctors and scientists. In her holds, we knew, were the supplies for a territory ten times the size of England. We shook hands with our friends. Some of the ladies farewelling their nearest and dearest cried, while another group was singing.

Copyright © 1995-2004 by Edward Beauclerk Maurice. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...
  • Book Jacket: The Black Witch
    The Black Witch
    by Laurie Forest
    In The Black Witch, Laurie Forest introduces her readers to an immersive fantasy world where ...
  • Book Jacket: See What I Have Done
    See What I Have Done
    by Sarah Schmidt
    Sarah Schmidt's historical fictionalization of the Lizzie Borden story is a tsunami. From the ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Heart's Invisible Furies
    by John Boyne

    A sweeping, heartfelt saga set in Ireland from the author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Hame

Hame by Annalena McAfee

A rich, sultry novel about a young American fleeing a crumbling marriage for a remote Scottish island.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A F Out O W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.