Monday, 16 April 2012

Jungle Chums -Introduction


This young adventurer story takes place in British Guiana about 100 years ago, when the author lived there. The book is very scarce, WorldCat indicated that only six copies of the book exist in major libraries of the world. The story will be serialized here as there are about sixty images to go along with the mystery.
Jungle Chums
A Story of a Boy's Adventures in British Guiana
By A. Hyatt Verrill
Author of "The Cruise of the Cormorant," "In Morgan's Wake." etc.
Illustrated
Published August, 1916
By the same author
The Cruise of the Cormorant Illustrated by photographs. $1.35 net. Two American boys undertake, with their uncle, to deliver his yacht to its new owner in the Barbados. The story includes yachting, hunting, fishing travel, adventure, and treasure seeking —six things dear to the hearts of boys.
In Morgan’s Wake Illustrated by photographs and line sketches, $1.35 net. Another cruise of the "Cormorant." The two boys seek and find a wreck containing treasure. Their adventures take them to Cuba and South America.
Uncle Abner’s Legacy Illustrated by photographs. $1.35 net. How a city boy and girl made good on a farm.
Henry Holt and Company, Publishers New York

To
The Best of all Chums
My Wife

Foreword
While this book is primarily a story of adventure for boys, yet it contains a vast amount of information in regard to British Guiana, its people, customs, fauna and flora, resources and industries. Even prospective visitors to the colony may obtain an excellent idea of the character of the interior from its pages.
The book was written in British Guiana; much of it while traveling by boat or canoe upon the great rivers, other portions in Indian benabs among the aborigines and still other chapters while seated in a hammock in wilderness camps amid the very scenes and at the actual spots described in the story.
Every effort has been made to eliminate inaccuracies and impossibilities from the tale and in each and every essential feature the work is accurate and reliable. But it is manifestly impossible to cover every feature, every phase of such a vast country as Guiana in a single story of adventure without drawing on imagination to some extent. Hence it has been found necessary to introduce certain fictitious localities and conditions and to combine in one district resources and industries which actually occur in widely separated places. Thus, so far as known, there is no lake between the Corantyne and Berbice Rivers as described; but vast areas in this district are unexplored and unknown and there is no valid reason why such a lake should not exist or why navigable waterways should not connect the unknown headwaters of the Berbice with the equally unknown upper Corantyne. So, too, the strange Bush Negroes of Surinam have never, as far as known, crossed far into British Guiana territory, either on peaceful or hostile missions and, as a matter of fact, they are a most peaceable, harmless race despite the warlike and savage nature of their ancestors. Ratura, too, is an imaginary place,—a situation created for the purpose of the story, and many products are represented as found there which are unknown to the Essequibo district. But nowhere does the fiction interfere with the facts or vice versa. Indeed, many of the most dramatic incidents and most thrilling situations are but slightly altered accounts of actual occurrences and those portions of the text which refer to the native Indians, the ways and customs of the people and the various dialects are absolutely true to life.
 
A. Hyatt Verrill.
Georgetown, Demerara. March 7, 1916.
Contents
FOREWORD.........
i. Off to South America.......3
II. In Guiana's Capital....... 20
III. A Surprising Reception......23
IV. At Ratura........ 40
V. The Blow Gun........ 54
VI. In the Jungle....... 69
VII. At the Timber Grant....... 91
VIII. The Conspiracy........ 112
IX. A Race Against Time....... 130
X. More Troubles....... 142
XI. Kidnaped........158
XII. The Escape .... 175
XIII. Kenaima......... 193
XIV. The Secret or Ratura....... 203
XV. A Disappointing Discovery...... 227

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Hermanas calling the fish. (See page 89)
Map of British Guiana ....
Eric tried shooting the sun
Anchor was dropped in the harbor of Grenada
Quaint St. Georges with its steep streets
Many of the streets were in the form of stairways
In one spot a tunnel had been drilled through a hill
The giant bamboos along the country road
"It's like the rigging of a ship," exclaimed Erie
The Maraval steamed through the Bocas
The ship anchored off Port of Spain
Marine Square, Port of Spain
A trolley ride carried them to the Savanna
They visited the wonderful Pitch Lake
The waterfront of Georgetown, British Guiana
A white-bearded Moslem priest invited him to enter
The gigantic leaves and flowers of the Victoria Regia
The hotel bore the legend, "Boats and outfits for the gold and diamond fields"
The boat swept swiftly up the river
The milky juice of the rubber trees trickling into the latex cups
He left the labor of tapping the trees to the Indian boy
Raised the blow gun and placed one end to his lips
Hermanas halted beneath a giant mora tree in the forest
The water mirrored every object in a wonderful way
Leading from the water's edge was a primitive ladder
The neat thatched benabs of the Arekunas
The women went on with their tasks oblivious to his presence
Bade good-by to his Arekuna friends
With a quick motion he drew the bow to his ear
The timber road led through the forest with great trees on every hand
He helped to gather the cacao pods
He watched the men as they chopped the pods open
As the men shuffled and raked the cocoa beans in the drying trays
The car rumbled over scores of tiny creeks
Past the Victoria Law Courts
The Colonial Bank in Georgetown, British Guiana
A Bush Negro with kinky hair braided into pigtails
A broad smooth stretch of river lay ahead
Great areas of long grass appeared
In one hand he grasped a bow and arrow, in the other a club of carved wood
Stealthily as a jaguar the Kenaima crept with upraised club

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.