arthur-ransome

[John] leaned on the tiller, and tried to see both chart and compass at once. Yes, it must be alright. Clear water all the way till you came to the ‘Sunk’ lightship right on the edge of the chart. Out there they would be alright. Jim had waited there himself. This was what Jim would do. This was what Daddy would do. John, in spite of being able to see nothing but fog, in spite of the broken promise, in spite of the awful mess they were in,  was surprised to find that a lot of his worry had left him. The decision had been made. He was dead sure it was the right decision.
—  Arthur Ransome, We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea
Now, do get it into your head that to think of your public is the way NOT TO BE ABLE TO WRITE BOOKS. Good books are not written FOR anyone. They are OVERHEARD. If you want to make sure of becoming just one of the many manufacturers of passable books you will choose a public and write books for it. But, surely, you want to do better than that. You are a person in your own right and you are the only public you ought to consider.
—  Signalling from Mars: the Letters of Arthur Ransome
It was written in black pencil that had scored deeply into the paper:
August the 2nd. 1901.
We climbed the Matterhorn.
Molly Turner.
J. Turner.
Bob Blackett.

“That’s mother and Uncle Jim,” said Peggy in a queer voice.
“Who is Bob Blackett?” asked Susan.
“He was father,” said Nancy.
Nobody said anything for a minute, and then Titty, looking at the paper, said, “So that was what they called it. Well, it’s Kanchenjunga now. It’s no good changing it now we’ve climbed it.”
—  Swallowdale, by Arthur Ransome
We have a saying that a man may have typhoid while still on his legs. Twenty, maybe thirty years ago I had abortive typhoid, and was going about with it, had it some days before it knocked me over. Well, England and France and Italy have caught the disease already. England may seem to you to be untouched, but the microbe is already there.
—  Vladimir Lenin, in response to Arthur Ransome’s statement that, though Communism was succeeding in Russia, it would not take hold in England. 1919.
‘Ready for your breakfast?’ said Mother, as they came downstairs, 'or how would you like to come along the hard and back to make sure of an appetite?’
Bridget wondered for a moment, because on of the rules of ordinary days was, 'Breakfast before everything.’ If people once got loose out of doors, Mother used to say, you never knew how much time you would have to waste before you could catch them again.
—  Arthur Ransome, We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea

I came across this book years ago when searching the library shelves for something new to read, and decided to check it out; a great decision, as it turned out. This is the first book in a series of a dozen adventure stories, all worth reading; this one is about the Walker siblings (Swallows), whose summer plans turn out more exciting than planned when they discover that the island they chose for a summer camp is also claimed by a set of fierce “pirates” (the Amazons). Also, although the series isn’t fantasy, in terms of date, setting and sibling relations, there has always been a certain Narnian connection in my mind.