Stowaway

( 8 )

Overview

It is known that in the summer of 1768, Captain James Cook sailed from England on H.M.S Endeavour, beginning a three-year voyage around the world on a secret mission to discover an unknown continent at the bottom of the globe. What is less known is that a boy by the name of Nicholas Young was a stowaway on that ship.
Newbery winner Karen Hesse re-creates Cook's momentous voyage through the eyes of this remarkable boy, creating a fictional journal filled with fierce hurricanes, ...

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Overview

It is known that in the summer of 1768, Captain James Cook sailed from England on H.M.S Endeavour, beginning a three-year voyage around the world on a secret mission to discover an unknown continent at the bottom of the globe. What is less known is that a boy by the name of Nicholas Young was a stowaway on that ship.
Newbery winner Karen Hesse re-creates Cook's momentous voyage through the eyes of this remarkable boy, creating a fictional journal filled with fierce hurricanes, warring natives, and disease, as Nick discovers new lands, incredible creatures, and lifelong friends.

A fictionalized journal relates the experiences of a young stowaway from 1768 to 1771 aboard the Endeavor which sailed around the world under Captain James Cook.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Embark on an exciting voyage with the Newbery Award-winning author of Out of the Dust! With Stowaway, Karen Hesse delivers an extraordinary, sweeping tale of adventure -- told through the fictional journals of Nicholas Young, a real-life stowaway on Captain James Cook's Endeavor in 1768. Taking the bare facts of this boy's history as a starting point, Hesse has Nicholas tell his own story -- from the moment he is discovered onboard to the moment he discovers land, from his loneliness at sea to his friendship with a young Tahitian boy. It's an adventure you won't want to miss!
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Listeners set sail with 11-year-old Nicholas Young, a stowaway aboard Captain Cook's ship Endeavour, in this solid audiobook version of Hesse's period adventure. In a pleasant English accent, Cale smoothly reads the pages of Young's journal, chronicling a dangerous 1768-1771 voyage from England to an area south of New Zealand where Cook and his crew searched for a new continent. Despite his gaining passage illegally, Nick proves a worthy ship hand to Cook and his crew of 80-plus men, rising through the ranks to become the ship surgeon's assistant. Through Nick's innocent eyes, listeners explore exotic terrain, experience day-to-day life among seamen and face life-or-death situations generated by the unpredictable nature of weather, wind and water. Upon returning to England, after most of the crew has been lost to a typhoid breakout, Nick is emboldened, ready to face the difficult circumstances he first sought to escape by stowing away. The tone of discovery in Cale's voice buoys the proceedings, keeping listeners rapt. An afterword provides historical information about the real Nicholas Young and the Endeavour (though the recording does not include the handy glossary and ship's crew list and itinerary that are provided in the book). Ages 10-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's November 2000 review of the hardcover edition: To escape his disapproving father, his studies, and his apprenticeship to a cruel butcher, 11-year-old Nicholas Young stows away on Captain James Cook's Endeavor. He tells of his adventures on the amazing round-the-world trip, from 1768 to 1771, in diary entries. The ship is on a voyage of discovery, and Nicholas conveys the excitement of discovering new land for the king as well as the scientists' thrill at finding new animals and plants. Nicholas becomes the helper to the ship's surgeon and nurses typhoid-ridden crewmembers. He makes friends with a Tahitian boy and he is the first to spot New Zealand. There are encounters with natives both friendly and fierce, animals on board that Nicholas tends lovingly, a nasty midshipman who has it in for him, the threat of scurvy, and the danger of great storms at sea. This adventure story told in journal form is very much in the style of Scholastic's Dear America and My Name is America series, and will appeal to fans of historical fiction and sea stories. It's based on fact, as the afterword by Hesse (Newbery Medal-winning author of Out of the Dust and other YA novels) makes clear, and it includes a list of the ship's company, its itinerary, and a glossary. Full-page b/w illustrations are interspersed here and there. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Simon & Schuster, Aladdin, 316p. illus. map.,
— Paula Rohrlick
VOYA
This fictional journal of Nicholas Young, a stowaway aboard Captain James Cook's English ship Endeavor, recounts the adventures that helped chart new lands, plants, animals, customs, and people during her three-year voyage from 1768 to 1771. Nick's diary follows the route of the actual journey, based on information that Hesse researched from the journals of crewmembers, although little is known about the real Nicholas Young. Escaping his abusive apprenticeship with a butcher, Nick finds his mistreatment aboard the Endeavor tolerable. His desire, enthusiasm, and pride in his work, especially as the surgeon's assistant and as teacher to Samuel Evans, one of the men who helped stow Nick aboard the ship, gain him the eventual respect of the crew long after he is discovered. Along the way, Nick develops a friendship with a native, sees cannibals holding human heads, watches natives being shot, helps the crew through shipwreck and disease, witnesses his friends die, and longs for home. Stowaway could be especially useful to present an exploration unit aided by the maps located on the endpapers. An endnote suggests following the Endeavor's travels on the maps by longitude as indicated in the journal, although this idea would have been more beneficial if offered at the start. Newbery Award-winner Hesse again writes in her poetic voice, this time through the words of an eighteenth-century eleven-year-old boy who turns fourteen by the end of the trip. Although the book's length might deter some younger readers, Hesse holds readers' interest in discovering Nick's and the rest of the Endeavor crew's fate. Glossary. Illus. Maps. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred onlyby occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, McElderry/S & S, 328p, . Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Jennifer Bromann SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Captain James Cook left England on the H.M.S. Endeavor in 1769 with a crew of 85 men including an 11-year-old stowaway named Nicholas Young. Historians believe the boy could read and write, and was probably smuggled aboard the ship. This was enough information for Karen Hesse (S&S, 2000) to chronicle a fictional account of this young butcher's apprentice who runs away from his abusive employer to adventure in the uncharted waters of the South Pacific. Assisting the crew by scrubbing, polishing, shoveling and fetching, Nicholas becomes the ears and eyes of the voyage. British actor, David Cale, narrates the story presented as a journal. Each diary entry is prefaced by the date and location of the ship. Cale effectively enunciates each and every degree of longitude and latitude, reinforcing the painstaking attention to detail. Birds and fish are collected aboard the ship and sketched by Mr. Banks, a naturalist. Nicholas is awed by the beauty of Tahiti and contemplates staying there with his new friend, Tarheto. They witness cannibalism among the "New Zeland" natives, and trips ashore are fraught with wonder and wariness. The Endeavor limps home battered by storms and the crew plagued by scurvy, accidents, and death. Nicholas returns home a young man. The colloquialism and authenticity in the text is handled deftly by Cale, although the unfamiliar words and phrases will be better understood by students who read along with the story.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Presented in diary format, this is the story of 11-year-old Nicholas Young's 1768 voyage as a stowaway on Captain Cook's ship Endeavor. Hesse uses the few facts known about Nick, as well as the actual journals of Cook and naturalist Joseph Banks, as sources for her account of their three-year voyage to explore and chart the South Pacific. Nick has run away from the casual cruelty of a father who is disappointed in his son's lack of scholarship and has been apprenticed to"the Butcher" to toughen him up. Throughout, he is haunted by the nightmarish Butcher, whose memory is evoked by the brutish Midshipman Bootie. In the course of the voyage, Nick is made a Surgeon's assistant and gains the crew's acceptance. He grows into a skilled young man who recognizes his strengths and is prepared to hold his head up and make amends to the people he has disappointed. Renowned for her spare, poetic style (Out of the Dust, 1997, Newbery Medal), Hesse is just as successful telling a story rich in detail that is reflective in style and content of an 18th-century journal. Here the beauty of her language is at the service of such phenomena as a show of porpoises and the almost-human scream of the Endeavor as it is impaled on a coral reef. So adept is the pacing that, like a sea voyage, sometimes Nick's journal entries are as prosaic as days at sea and sometimes entries become almost staccato as the action drives the reader forward. Ink-and-wash drawings by Robert Andrew Parker are appropriate to the classic genre of sea adventure. In a lucid, readable style, free of excessive nautical jargon, Hesse simultaneously takes readers along on one of history's greatest enterprises, and introduces them to oneofhistory's most prodigious natural leaders. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689839894
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 304,886
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Newbery winner Karen Hesse re-creates Cook's momentous voyage through the eyes of this remarkable boy, creating a fictional journal filled with fierce hurricanes, warring natives, and disease, as Nick discovers new lands, incredible creatures, and lifelong friends.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Stowaway

August 1768

SUNDAY 7th TO FRIDAY 19th [Plymouth] With the help of Seamen Francis Haite, John Ramsay, and Samuel Evans, I have managed to keep my presence aboard Endeavour secret. She's a small Bark, and her Company over eighty in number. It's a wonder I've not been discovered, with all the coming and going of the men aboard, but I have not. The three seamen I paid to get me on bring biscuit and water. They make certain I exercise each night during middle watch, when there are fewer hands on deck. But there is little to relieve my situation till Endeavour sails.

It's a good hiding place I've got, in the aft of what Samuel Evans calls the Pinnace, a small boat Endeavour carries aboard her. I can look over the edge and see the deck without being noticed. But it is difficult, lying still, day and night. Sometimes the urge to cry out nearly gets the better of me. I haven't yet. It would go hard on the men who have helped me if I did. And I would be returned to the Butcher, who would take it out of my hide, if Father didn't kill me first.

Endeavour creaks without rest as she sits at anchor. The breeze chatters her ropes against the masts. The ship's bell clangs on the hour and half hour, and the bosun's whistle ever pierces the air with its piped orders. With all the din of London, I thought it could never be so noisy on a ship. But it is.

I've chickens for neighbours, and pigs, and a goat. They snort and cluck and bleat day and night, in pens on deck. I'm glad of their company and wish I might go near them more often. I've had milk out of the goat, straight from her teat. John Ramsay says she's aboardfor the Gentlemen and Officers, so they might have fresh cream when they please.

Today, the 19th, Captain Cook gathered the Ship's Company on deck and read the Articles of War aloud. Captain is a clean-shaven man, strict and stern, with cold eyes. The Articles he read stated there would be no swearing of oaths on board, no drunkenness, nor uncleanness. Good thing Captain hasn't had a whiff of me. The Articles declare cowardice, mutiny, and desertion to be punishable acts. They say naught of stowaways, but Francis Haite, John Ramsay, and Samuel Evans each glanced my way during Captain's reading.

SATURDAY 20th [Plymouth] Rain, rain, rain. Even with the cover pulled over me, I am thoroughly wet.

SUNDAY 21st [Plymouth] We toss at anchor. My stomach heaves and cramps and heaves again. And I'm bruised from head to toe.

I half wish Father would come aboard and take me home. I'm tired of being wet and hungry. Father knows by my letter that I've run out on the Butcher. But I did not write where I meant to go, nor what I meant to do, for when I sent the letter, I hardly knew my plans myself. Even if he knew, he would not come. I am a disappointment to Father. All my brothers are scholars. Only I could not settle to my studies. Father has no use for a son who will not learn his Latin.

MONDAY 22nd [Plymouth] A storm has made the sea sorely troubled beneath us, even as we sit at anchor. This noon a servant boy saw me heaving out of the Pinnace as he ran to be sick himself over the side. I pray he was too much in his own misery to take notice of me and mine.

TUESDAY 23rd [Plymouth] Last night the servant boy came right to my hiding place. "Lad," he whispered, "are you still alive in there?"

I held silent. After a moment he poked his head into the Pinnace and stared straight at me. I stared straight back. He looked to be fifteen or sixteen years of age. When he made out I was well, he smiled. Blisters, I have never seen such a beaming smile.

Samuel Evans called out from the forward of the ship, "Hey, there. You, boy. Get away from the Pinnace."

The servant boy was gone in an instant, but not before he'd dropped some hardtack and a piece of junk into my hand.

WEDNESDAY 24th TO THURSDAY 25th [Plymouth] More wind and rain, and the air thick and heavy on my chest. I stink worse than a London gutter. I wish I could just shut my eyes and sleep until everything was right again.

I told Francis Haite about the servant boy who found me.

"That would be John Charlton," Francis Haite said. "He's a good lad. He won't give you up."

Francis Haite is an old man, older than the Captain, with crooked and missing teeth and a face well lined. He clasped my shoulder for a moment. "Be patient, lad," he said.

I shall be patient. Father thinks me worthless when it comes to sticking with a plan. He says I run from everything. Well, I did run from Reverend Smythe's school. And from the Butcher. But I had good cause on both counts. And unhappy as I am, cramped in the hard confines of the Pinnace, I am better off than I was with the Butcher. And so I shall remain, recording my trials in this journal. I shall prove to Father that I am not a quitter. That I am good for something. That I am more than a Butcher's boy.

Finally, the rain has stopped. Empty casks taken off. Fresh supplies of Beer and Water brought on. This afternoon, at last, we weighed anchor. Now there are new sounds to join with the others. The wind clapping the sails, the men singing out in the rigging, the water churned by Endeavour's prow. Fine sounds. Sailing sounds.

FRIDAY 26th [Off the Coast of England] Samuel Evans, who has the largest hands I have ever seen, larger even than the Butcher's, found me at my journal, which has suffered from the damp despite its wrappings. He cannot read nor write and thinks it wondrous that a boy of eleven can do what a grown man cannot. "I could teach you," I told him. "When I am out of hiding."

He laughed and nodded his large head. "Time does sit heavy on a seaman some days. It'd be a blessing to read away the hours."

SATURDAY 27th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] Fair-haired John Ramsay, the youngest of the three men helping me, shipped out the first time when he was but eight.

There are several Gentlemen aboard. I often hear the name of Mr. Banks called. He's a very educated man from the sound of him. His brown hair goes wild in the wind, and his dark eyes are lit with an eager curiosity. Mr. Banks's Company watched porpoises off the side this afternoon. From my hiding place I could hear their remarks and see the pleasure the Gentlemen took in their sightings. I only wish I might have stood at the rail beside them and seen what they saw.

As I write, the sea is ever in my ears and in my bones. Endeavour creaks and groans and sighs as she goes. I creak and groan and sigh, as well, but I must do it all in silence.

SUNDAY 28th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] Gale in the night. But today the rain gave way to haze and a light breeze, and I dried out a bit. Mr. Banks and his Gentlemen dipped up some seawater and discussed the creatures found swimming in it. The Gentlemen were full of exclamation and wonder.

MONDAY 29th to Tuesday 30th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] The weather has turned foul again, and the ship heaves and tosses. I am sick. The Gentlemen have been sick, too. Been at the side regularly. I can say now that Gentlemen heave the contents of their stomach same as eleven-year-old stowaways.

WEDNESDAY 31st TO THURSDAY 1st SEPTEMBER [Lat. 44°56' N, Long. 9°9' W] All day the sea rose, breaking over the deck. Captain had the men everywhere in the rigging, trying to save the ship from being torn to pieces by the wind.

Just before first watch the Bosun staggered to the side and shook his fist at the sea, cursing it for stealing his skiff. But ship's cook, Mr. Thompson, was angrier still. A dozen of his hens drowned in the storm. Mr. Thompson kept muttering how he was never to feed the entire Company if the sea kept killing his livestock. I'd never seen ship's cook so close before. He has but one hand!

The storm, at last, is blown out and Endeavour floats easy in the sea again. The servant boy, John Charlton, comes past when he can, leaving bits to eat. He also brings with him good cheer with that kind face of his and that beaming smile. I don't know much about him but that he is from London, has a friendly nature, and at fifteen years of age has spent his last three years at sea. He says my red hair reminds him of his mother. He knows his way about, John Charlton does, and he knows the men who brought me aboard. They can be trusted, he said. They're good men.

The men at night sing songs of Spain, and John Charlton says soon we are passing there. He brought me the latitude and longitude readings so I might enter them in my journal and has promised to do so whenever he can. I asked John what I should do about coming out.

"Stay hidden," he said. "If you are discovered now," he said, "Captain may yet put you off on land and see you returned to England."

FRIDAY 2nd [Between Cape Finisterre and Cape Ortegal] Spain! I cannot see it from my hiding place, but I heard the cry. The Gentlemen brought their casting nets out and fetched in such creatures I can only imagine. Great were their exclamations of wonder. Their excitement makes my hiding so much more difficult to bear. That and the dampness of it all.

SATURDAY 3rd [Off the Coast of Spain] Saw little of the Gentlemen on deck today. At times they are careless and leave a morsel, spiced meat or cheese. Mr. Parkinson, one of the artists Mr. Banks brought aboard to draw the plants and animals we shall see on this voyage, is particularly forgetful with his food. He is a young man with a woman's hands. I am always interested to hear his observations. He speaks in a clear, light voice unlike any other on board.
SUNDAY 4th [Off the Coast of Spain] As the sun was setting, the Gentlemen spied an endless field of little crabs feeding upon the surface of the sea. They cast their net and brought in a dripping lot of the little scuttlers. On deck the crabs glistened in the last rays of sunlight, clicking and slipping over one another. The Gentlemen exclaimed excitedly, and Mr. Banks could not gather the creatures fast enough.

MONDAY 5th [Off Cape Finisterre] Mr. Banks received a bird from one of the sailors this morning. It had been tangled in the rigging. The bird died in Mr. Banks's hands. He had one of his servants rush it to Mr. Parkinson to be drawn. I like all animals, but birds are my favourites. The year after Mother died, when I lived with Grandmother, I would climb trees and watch the birds in their nests. I learned to imitate their calls, so that they would come almost to my hand.

Mr. Banks has two greyhound dogs aboard. They sniff at my hiding place in the shelter of the Pinnace. Ordinarily the sight of them would gladden me, but I fear the bad turn they could do me now if they should give me away. But with the pens of livestock around me, no one questions their excitement. Must be the pigs making them act so, Mr. Banks says.

TUESDAY 6th [Off the Coast of Spain] Spain retreats and the Gentlemen gather species from the sea with a wonderful worship. They exclaim at their finds, calling them sparkling jewels. Could these creatures possibly be as rich as my mind imagines? Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Buchan, the other artist aboard, must be very busy men, to draw all the creatures Mr. Banks discovers. He says no sailor has ever troubled before to make such a record. Now his discoveries are forever recorded in Mr. Parkinson's and Mr. Buchan's pictures. I listen and imagine what everything looks like.

WEDNESDAY 7th [Lat. 40°29' N, Long. 10°11' W] Captain and crew sailed with a spirit of happy speed. Mr. Banks looked out to sea a good part of the day. His posture suggested he was prepared to walk directly upon the water. I think he would ask Captain please to slow down so he might not miss a single fish swimming in his path. But John Charlton says Captain would not listen to such a request. Endeavour goes with the wind.

I asked Francis Haite as he coiled rigging nearby if I might come out soon. He swung his old head no.

I shall rot here. It smells as if I've already begun.

THURSDAY 8th [Off the Coast of Spain] John Ramsay says, "We are pulling away from Cape Saint Vincent, lad, the last of Europe. And soon you shall come out."

It's difficult deciding what to do first. A wash -- what with the fleas and a coat of saltwater on my skin, I itch like mad -- or dinner. I think it shall be dinner.

FRIDAY 9th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] We are fairly flying over the sea.

SATURDAY 10th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] In the night I dreamed of the Butcher and woke with a start. My back burned, remembering the bite of his whip. Silently, I slipped out of the Pinnace and crept over to Goat. She nodded, looked me over with a single golden eye, and leaned her weight comfortingly against me.

SUNDAY 11th [Lat. 34°1' N, Long. 14°29' W] John Charlton says, "Wait until we leave Madeira, Nick. Only that much longer."

I don't wish a quick end to our voyage. In fact, I'd like to go on a very long time. The men assure me we shall, as they did that first day I approached them in Deptford Yard. But how much longer can I last in hiding?

MONDAY 12th TO TUESDAY 13th [Isle of Madeira] I've wondered how John Charlton knew so much about Captain. Well, it seems John is the Captain's own underservant and has sailed with him before. The bits he brings me to eat come from the Captain's own table.

John Charlton checked on me as he tended the livestock pens. "We're heading from here to Brasil, Nick. Then round Cape Horn to King George's Land. We've orders from the Lord High Admiral himself. We're to observe the Planet Venus whilst we're there. It's very important, this observation, Nick. Captain says it will tell us how far the Earth is from the Sun and help all men who go to sea ever after."

I only wanted a long voyage. I did not know I had stowed away on such an important one.

WEDNESDAY 14th [Isle of Madeira] A terrible accident today. Captain moved Endeavour to a new berth this morning. The anchor did not hold fast on the first attempt and required to be set again. It was brought up and hove out, but this time Mr. Weir, the Quartermaster, found his leg entangled in the anchor rope. In a heartbeat Mr. Weir was over the side along with the anchor. It was a desperate work to bring him back up. The men hove up the line with the greatest urgency. But despite their efforts they were too late. Mr. Weir was drowned.

I want only to sleep, but when I close my eyes, I see the Butcher at work on Mr. Weir.

Copyright © 2000 by Karen Hesse

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First Chapter

Chapter One

Stowaway

August 1768

SUNDAY 7th TO FRIDAY 19th [Plymouth] With the help of Seamen Francis Haite, John Ramsay, and Samuel Evans, I have managed to keep my presence aboard Endeavour secret. She's a small Bark, and her Company over eighty in number. It's a wonder I've not been discovered, with all the coming and going of the men aboard, but I have not. The three seamen I paid to get me on bring biscuit and water. They make certain I exercise each night during middle watch, when there are fewer hands on deck. But there is little to relieve my situation till Endeavour sails.

It's a good hiding place I've got, in the aft of what Samuel Evans calls the Pinnace, a small boat Endeavour carries aboard her. I can look over the edge and see the deck without being noticed. But it is difficult, lying still, day and night. Sometimes the urge to cry out nearly gets the better of me. I haven't yet. It would go hard on the men who have helped me if I did. And I would be returned to the Butcher, who would take it out of my hide, if Father didn't kill me first.

Endeavour creaks without rest as she sits at anchor. The breeze chatters her ropes against the masts. The ship's bell clangs on the hour and half hour, and the bosun's whistle ever pierces the air with its piped orders. With all the din of London, I thought it could never be so noisy on a ship. But it is.

I've chickens for neighbours, and pigs, and a goat. They snort and cluck and bleat day and night, in pens on deck. I'm glad of their company and wish I might go near them more often. I've had milk out of the goat, straight from her teat. John Ramsay says she's aboard for the Gentlemen and Officers, so they might have fresh cream when they please.

Today, the 19th, Captain Cook gathered the Ship's Company on deck and read the Articles of War aloud. Captain is a clean-shaven man, strict and stern, with cold eyes. The Articles he read stated there would be no swearing of oaths on board, no drunkenness, nor uncleanness. Good thing Captain hasn't had a whiff of me. The Articles declare cowardice, mutiny, and desertion to be punishable acts. They say naught of stowaways, but Francis Haite, John Ramsay, and Samuel Evans each glanced my way during Captain's reading.

SATURDAY 20th [Plymouth] Rain, rain, rain. Even with the cover pulled over me, I am thoroughly wet.

SUNDAY 21st [Plymouth] We toss at anchor. My stomach heaves and cramps and heaves again. And I'm bruised from head to toe.

I half wish Father would come aboard and take me home. I'm tired of being wet and hungry. Father knows by my letter that I've run out on the Butcher. But I did not write where I meant to go, nor what I meant to do, for when I sent the letter, I hardly knew my plans myself. Even if he knew, he would not come. I am a disappointment to Father. All my brothers are scholars. Only I could not settle to my studies. Father has no use for a son who will not learn his Latin.

MONDAY 22nd [Plymouth] A storm has made the sea sorely troubled beneath us, even as we sit at anchor. This noon a servant boy saw me heaving out of the Pinnace as he ran to be sick himself over the side. I pray he was too much in his own misery to take notice of me and mine.

TUESDAY 23rd [Plymouth] Last night the servant boy came right to my hiding place. "Lad," he whispered, "are you still alive in there?"

I held silent. After a moment he poked his head into the Pinnace and stared straight at me. I stared straight back. He looked to be fifteen or sixteen years of age. When he made out I was well, he smiled. Blisters, I have never seen such a beaming smile.

Samuel Evans called out from the forward of the ship, "Hey, there. You, boy. Get away from the Pinnace."

The servant boy was gone in an instant, but not before he'd dropped some hardtack and a piece of junk into my hand.

WEDNESDAY 24th TO THURSDAY 25th [Plymouth] More wind and rain, and the air thick and heavy on my chest. I stink worse than a London gutter. I wish I could just shut my eyes and sleep until everything was right again.

I told Francis Haite about the servant boy who found me.

"That would be John Charlton," Francis Haite said. "He's a good lad. He won't give you up."

Francis Haite is an old man, older than the Captain, with crooked and missing teeth and a face well lined. He clasped my shoulder for a moment. "Be patient, lad," he said.

I shall be patient. Father thinks me worthless when it comes to sticking with a plan. He says I run from everything. Well, I did run from Reverend Smythe's school. And from the Butcher. But I had good cause on both counts. And unhappy as I am, cramped in the hard confines of the Pinnace, I am better off than I was with the Butcher. And so I shall remain, recording my trials in this journal. I shall prove to Father that I am not a quitter. That I am good for something. That I am more than a Butcher's boy.

Finally, the rain has stopped. Empty casks taken off. Fresh supplies of Beer and Water brought on. This afternoon, at last, we weighed anchor. Now there are new sounds to join with the others. The wind clapping the sails, the men singing out in the rigging, the water churned by Endeavour's prow. Fine sounds. Sailing sounds.

FRIDAY 26th [Off the Coast of England] Samuel Evans, who has the largest hands I have ever seen, larger even than the Butcher's, found me at my journal, which has suffered from the damp despite its wrappings. He cannot read nor write and thinks it wondrous that a boy of eleven can do what a grown man cannot. "I could teach you," I told him. "When I am out of hiding."

He laughed and nodded his large head. "Time does sit heavy on a seaman some days. It'd be a blessing to read away the hours."

SATURDAY 27th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] Fair-haired John Ramsay, the youngest of the three men helping me, shipped out the first time when he was but eight.

There are several Gentlemen aboard. I often hear the name of Mr. Banks called. He's a very educated man from the sound of him. His brown hair goes wild in the wind, and his dark eyes are lit with an eager curiosity. Mr. Banks's Company watched porpoises off the side this afternoon. From my hiding place I could hear their remarks and see the pleasure the Gentlemen took in their sightings. I only wish I might have stood at the rail beside them and seen what they saw.

As I write, the sea is ever in my ears and in my bones. Endeavour creaks and groans and sighs as she goes. I creak and groan and sigh, as well, but I must do it all in silence.

SUNDAY 28th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] Gale in the night. But today the rain gave way to haze and a light breeze, and I dried out a bit. Mr. Banks and his Gentlemen dipped up some seawater and discussed the creatures found swimming in it. The Gentlemen were full of exclamation and wonder.

MONDAY 29th to Tuesday 30th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] The weather has turned foul again, and the ship heaves and tosses. I am sick. The Gentlemen have been sick, too. Been at the side regularly. I can say now that Gentlemen heave the contents of their stomach same as eleven-year-old stowaways.

WEDNESDAY 31st TO THURSDAY 1st SEPTEMBER [Lat. 44°56' N, Long. 9°9' W] All day the sea rose, breaking over the deck. Captain had the men everywhere in the rigging, trying to save the ship from being torn to pieces by the wind.

Just before first watch the Bosun staggered to the side and shook his fist at the sea, cursing it for stealing his skiff. But ship's cook, Mr. Thompson, was angrier still. A dozen of his hens drowned in the storm. Mr. Thompson kept muttering how he was never to feed the entire Company if the sea kept killing his livestock. I'd never seen ship's cook so close before. He has but one hand!

The storm, at last, is blown out and Endeavour floats easy in the sea again. The servant boy, John Charlton, comes past when he can, leaving bits to eat. He also brings with him good cheer with that kind face of his and that beaming smile. I don't know much about him but that he is from London, has a friendly nature, and at fifteen years of age has spent his last three years at sea. He says my red hair reminds him of his mother. He knows his way about, John Charlton does, and he knows the men who brought me aboard. They can be trusted, he said. They're good men.

The men at night sing songs of Spain, and John Charlton says soon we are passing there. He brought me the latitude and longitude readings so I might enter them in my journal and has promised to do so whenever he can. I asked John what I should do about coming out.

"Stay hidden," he said. "If you are discovered now," he said, "Captain may yet put you off on land and see you returned to England."

FRIDAY 2nd [Between Cape Finisterre and Cape Ortegal] Spain! I cannot see it from my hiding place, but I heard the cry. The Gentlemen brought their casting nets out and fetched in such creatures I can only imagine. Great were their exclamations of wonder. Their excitement makes my hiding so much more difficult to bear. That and the dampness of it all.

SATURDAY 3rd [Off the Coast of Spain] Saw little of the Gentlemen on deck today. At times they are careless and leave a morsel, spiced meat or cheese. Mr. Parkinson, one of the artists Mr. Banks brought aboard to draw the plants and animals we shall see on this voyage, is particularly forgetful with his food. He is a young man with a woman's hands. I am always interested to hear his observations. He speaks in a clear, light voice unlike any other on board.
I have seen much in my imagination, listening to Mr. Parkinson's reflections.

SUNDAY 4th [Off the Coast of Spain] As the sun was setting, the Gentlemen spied an endless field of little crabs feeding upon the surface of the sea. They cast their net and brought in a dripping lot of the little scuttlers. On deck the crabs glistened in the last rays of sunlight, clicking and slipping over one another. The Gentlemen exclaimed excitedly, and Mr. Banks could not gather the creatures fast enough.

MONDAY 5th [Off Cape Finisterre] Mr. Banks received a bird from one of the sailors this morning. It had been tangled in the rigging. The bird died in Mr. Banks's hands. He had one of his servants rush it to Mr. Parkinson to be drawn. I like all animals, but birds are my favourites. The year after Mother died, when I lived with Grandmother, I would climb trees and watch the birds in their nests. I learned to imitate their calls, so that they would come almost to my hand.

Mr. Banks has two greyhound dogs aboard. They sniff at my hiding place in the shelter of the Pinnace. Ordinarily the sight of them would gladden me, but I fear the bad turn they could do me now if they should give me away. But with the pens of livestock around me, no one questions their excitement. Must be the pigs making them act so, Mr. Banks says.

TUESDAY 6th [Off the Coast of Spain] Spain retreats and the Gentlemen gather species from the sea with a wonderful worship. They exclaim at their finds, calling them sparkling jewels. Could these creatures possibly be as rich as my mind imagines? Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Buchan, the other artist aboard, must be very busy men, to draw all the creatures Mr. Banks discovers. He says no sailor has ever troubled before to make such a record. Now his discoveries are forever recorded in Mr. Parkinson's and Mr. Buchan's pictures. I listen and imagine what everything looks like.

WEDNESDAY 7th [Lat. 40°29' N, Long. 10°11' W] Captain and crew sailed with a spirit of happy speed. Mr. Banks looked out to sea a good part of the day. His posture suggested he was prepared to walk directly upon the water. I think he would ask Captain please to slow down so he might not miss a single fish swimming in his path. But John Charlton says Captain would not listen to such a request. Endeavour goes with the wind.

I asked Francis Haite as he coiled rigging nearby if I might come out soon. He swung his old head no.

I shall rot here. It smells as if I've already begun.

THURSDAY 8th [Off the Coast of Spain] John Ramsay says, "We are pulling away from Cape Saint Vincent, lad, the last of Europe. And soon you shall come out."

It's difficult deciding what to do first. A wash — what with the fleas and a coat of saltwater on my skin, I itch like mad — or dinner. I think it shall be dinner.

FRIDAY 9th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] We are fairly flying over the sea.

SATURDAY 10th [Off the Coast, North Atlantic] In the night I dreamed of the Butcher and woke with a start. My back burned, remembering the bite of his whip. Silently, I slipped out of the Pinnace and crept over to Goat. She nodded, looked me over with a single golden eye, and leaned her weight comfortingly against me.

SUNDAY 11th [Lat. 34°1' N, Long. 14°29' W] John Charlton says, "Wait until we leave Madeira, Nick. Only that much longer."

I don't wish a quick end to our voyage. In fact, I'd like to go on a very long time. The men assure me we shall, as they did that first day I approached them in Deptford Yard. But how much longer can I last in hiding?

MONDAY 12th TO TUESDAY 13th [Isle of Madeira] I've wondered how John Charlton knew so much about Captain. Well, it seems John is the Captain's own underservant and has sailed with him before. The bits he brings me to eat come from the Captain's own table.

John Charlton checked on me as he tended the livestock pens. "We're heading from here to Brasil, Nick. Then round Cape Horn to King George's Land. We've orders from the Lord High Admiral himself. We're to observe the Planet Venus whilst we're there. It's very important, this observation, Nick. Captain says it will tell us how far the Earth is from the Sun and help all men who go to sea ever after."

I only wanted a long voyage. I did not know I had stowed away on such an important one.

WEDNESDAY 14th [Isle of Madeira] A terrible accident today. Captain moved Endeavour to a new berth this morning. The anchor did not hold fast on the first attempt and required to be set again. It was brought up and hove out, but this time Mr. Weir, the Quartermaster, found his leg entangled in the anchor rope. In a heartbeat Mr. Weir was over the side along with the anchor. It was a desperate work to bring him back up. The men hove up the line with the greatest urgency. But despite their efforts they were too late. Mr. Weir was drowned.

I want only to sleep, but when I close my eyes, I see the Butcher at work on Mr. Weir.

Copyright © 2000 by Karen Hesse

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Read

    I was forced to read this book by my teacher. Nough said.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2006

    One of Karen Hesse's best books

    I looove this book! It's very interesting and you'll know the hardships the crew encountered while traveling. 33

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    !!!One of my favorite books!!!

    This awesome book is about a boy named Nicholas Young who embarks on a long journey with Captain James Cook and other many sailors. He wanted to get away from his old life with the Butcher and Mr. Smythe where his father wanted him to go because his heart was too soft. This book includes the weather they endured, deaths,natives they trade with--including Tupia and Tarheto who comes with them, and finds along their way. Stowaway will want to make you smile. It'll also want tp make you cry because of two people's death that were very special to Nick. This book is worth a read. Very worth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2004

    Best bang for your buck

    This is an unbelievable bargain and a fascinating read. It is replete with boring trivial entries that seem EXACTLY what the boy would have written on an actual voyage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2004

    This book is better than perfect.

    This book makes you feel like you were actualy there experiencing Captain Cook's amazing journey by just reading what Nicholas Young, an eleven year old stowaway wrote in his journal. With near death experiences, wild seas, and canabalistic natives this book intregues you and keeps your attention until you finish this amazing book. Read this book if you like fantatasy or realistic adventure books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002

    Stowaway

    Stowaway is an adventure story about a boy named Nicholas Young. He escapes a cruel apprenticeship and sneaks onto the ship Endeavour. He travels around the world as a member of the crew for over three years. On his voyage he encounters many hardships and returns to England a mature young man. Stowaway is a great book for those who like sea adventure stories. A bit lengthy, but nonetheless enjoyable. It effectively shows the results of colonization and the dangers faced by sailors during the time period. The book is set in the late 1800's and is written in journal form. A good story about survival and a young person's struggle to grow up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2002

    Great Story--Disappointing Drawings

    As a junior high library media teacher, I booktalk titles almost daily, and Stowaway is one of my--and the kids'--favorites. I was so disappointed, however, with Parker's vague, scribbly illustrations. How lovely it would have been to complement the text instead with 'Audubon'-style sketches of the birds and fish the party found on their exploration of the Pacific.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2001

    Fantastico book

    I really liked this book. It was very descriptive and it is also a true story. It is about a boy who wants to leave his life in London so he asks some crew members to keep him secret on the ship, but little did he know that it would be more then a regular ship ride for an eleven year old boy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2001

    READ THIS BOOK

    Stowaway is an awesome book!!!! Its really cool! I'm on the part where Nick describes the captain from Mr. Banks. Its sort of confusing because theres alot of people in the book. But other then that its really good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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