‘The Little Savage’ by Frederick Marryat – Reading the First Chapter Aloud


14 July 2018

I fell down a rabbit hole in a literary sense.  I was looking at various videos on Youtube that criticized popular movies for being ‘politically correct’ and using an all female caste just to have an all female caste.  One example that attracted lots of Youtube video makers anger was ‘Ghostbusters’ with a number of women as the lead characters.  I saw someone had a video noting the all female caste of a re-make of ‘Lord of the Flies.’  The book of note has had two movies already – one black and white, the other more recently in color.  So…why make it again?  To sell tickets hopefully should be the first consideration.  I guess.  Or to make a point.  One could be made.  Women would handle the situation of being on an isolated desert isle differently than the boys in the book.

As I was reading the comments about the movie idea I read someone refer to a book that ‘Lord of the Flies’ was a kind of answer to – The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean (1858) is a novel written by Scottish author R. M. Ballantyne.  The work became a standard for youth education in England and perhaps America in the 19th century.  I looked the work up and found links to the text on Project Gutenberg and an audio reading on Librivox.  I started to listen to the work but was lulled into disinterest by the obvious moral tone of this adventure-sermon.  Britain is praised, Christianity is validated, and drunken louts of low class sailors are punished.

But the work lead me to another title in the Wikipedia article about the sailing adventure.  I saw the title ‘Mr Midshipman Easy’ by Frederick Marryat.  I seemed to remember an Illustrated Classic comic book cover with that title.  A man in a broad striped shirt swinging on a block and tackle next to the side of a 19th century wooden sailing boat.  One of the covers of those comic books that made me long to know what the story was all about.  So, I listened and read the text of ‘Mr Midshipman Easy.’  I was delighted with the first opening lines of the work at the wit and word play.  This man, Frederick Marryat, could tell a story.

Mr Easy 2

Having time on my hands since Angie is at day camp I pushed through ‘Mr Midshipman Easy’ in two or three days with a combination of audio while looking at text, listening to audio while lying down, or simply reading the text with no audio.  Sometimes witty, sometimes a plain adventure, and sometimes a bit of a counter-attack against a blind belief in the ‘Rights of Man.’

Little Savage

I moved on next to ‘The Little Savage’ by Frederick Marryat.  But, when I looked at the Wikipedia page there was a link to Project Gutenberg text, but no link to a Librivox audio.  There was no audio available.  I tried looking on Audible.com, but they make it hard to see what they have.  I thought I had found an orphaned audio classic; I could make a voice recording and pin my fortune to a famous star.

Yesterday, when Angie was at camp, I made a video recording of me reading the first chapter.  I set up my tripod and put the camera on auto and made a video recording.  I wasn’t aimed at my face, because my face would not be on the finished video.  I took the video on a memory stick/ thumb drive and put it on the parlor computer where I could get  a video of a candle burning as the visual to put my audio to.  I used the Windows Live Movie Maker to edit out the coughs and word stumbles.  Then I put the video in Adobe Premier Elements to put the video and audio together.  I put the finished movie back on the memory stick and put it on Youtube for anyone to see.  I went to my bedroom laptop and put a number of ads on Reddit to direct people to see my video.

So far about four people have seen the video.  Not much demand for a 1848 children’s adventure book.  Although I put the link on r/VoiceOver and the counter said 76 people had clicked on the link.  Perhaps they could watch the video on Reddit without leaving to go to Youtube and adding to the count there.

At least I made the effort to create something that did not exist that morning.  On the way home from camp I was talking to Angie about the video I had made and she said she wanted to see it.  That’s enough of an audience for me….or, at least an important beginning.  I want to get a better microphone; the one I am using is an 8$ model from Walmart, or the microphone on the camera that is picking up everything.

As I read along deeper into the story the tone seems to be very preachy and full of Christian homilies.  The story was not finished when Frederick Marryat died and his son took his notes and completed the work for publication.  The work does not contain any of the wit I saw in ‘Mr Midshipman Easy.’  The last half seems to be all ‘Trust in God’ from a missionary woman who arrives.

I was wondering if I should even continue to read the entire work.  I could just leave the first chapter on Youtube to get one interested and then the curious can follow the link to Project Gutenberg.  I also thought of re-writing the work myself.  The sections were God and Christ are explained could be a lot more entertaining, and true to what a real savage on an island might thing of 19th Century British Christianity.