OUT ON THE PAMPAS
THE YOUNG SETTLERS
“No one is strong in himself, but God gives strength.”~G.A. Henty
Today I will be doing a book report on Out on the Pampas. The book is centered around 1851 and was written by G. A. Henty. This was a good book and I would recommend reading it if you haven’t already!
Around 1850, Frank Hardy and his wife, Clara Hardy, decided to move to South America. It seems that one of the reasons for which they chose to partake upon this journey was for the betterment of their boys.
Frank Hardy was a Father (of 4 children) and a husband (of one). He was a tall and active man of about 40 years old.
Clara Hardy was a high-spirited woman. Though Frank Hardy was five years her senior in age, she scarcely looked 30.
Charley Hardy (hmm, it rhymes!) was a young man, and at the beginning of the story, was 15 years of age.
Hurbert Hardy at the beginning of the story was a teenager of the age of 14.
Maud Hardy was a girl and at the beginning of the story was about 12 years old. She seemed to be a little bit of a Tom-boy and liked to ride horses and had a pretty good aim with a firearm.
Ethel Hardy the youngest of the Hardy’s and was a young girl about a year younger than her sister. Though Ethel could also shoot a firearm, she seemed to be a bit of the quieter type.
When the Hardy children were presented with the news that they were to move to South America, the boys were happy at the idea that they might be able to fight Indians, and the girls were a bit surprised! Nonetheless, they all seemed excited for the relocation of what we call home (AKA: the move).
Mr. Hardy wanted the boys to have experience with some trades. He therefore had the boys be a sort of apprentice; they learned gardening and carpentering. Mr. Hardy also said something to the effect that he would talk to some farmers so that the boys could learn a little bit about plowing.
Just because the girls were younger they didn’t get off scot-free; they had to learn cooking. After a while they actually got rather decent at it.
In order, however, for the Hardy’s to be able to communicate with some of the native people of South America, the needed to speak the native language. Therefore, they had a person who spoke Spanish fluently come and live with them. Because the boys were out at their jobs and were older (and maybe other reasons) the girls surpassed their brothers in the knowledge of the language and probably had some enjoyment listening to their brothers’ blunders!
You may remember how I mentioned that the boys were rather excited to fight the Indians. Well, even though their Father said, “I do not know that we shall have fights with Indians…” he still acquired a fairly large stock of firearms and taught the boys how to shoot the firearms while still living in England (they did this without their Mother and sisters knowing too much about it).
The Hardy’s also had a housemaid. She had been an orphan and the Hardys had taken her in as a nursemaid. As time went on, they no longer required the services of a nurse maid; she then stayed on as a housemaid. She also was planning to come along on the journey. Mr. Hardy had her sign to stay with them one year after which she could marry. This was wise because Mr. Hardy knew that they would need help in their first year on the pampas. This was also wise because he knew that there were not many young English women and he also knew that there were some well-to-do Englishmen in the country that they were moving to.
The boys by now had become more muscular, the girls better cooks, and the family better at speaking Spanish!
They boarded a ship that took them to South America. Upon arrival, they were welcomed by an old friend of Mr. Hardy named Mr. Thompson who was fairly well off financially.
Frank Hardy bought some land for a fairly reasonable price. However, this land was in the sort of area that the Indians might attack, but Mr. Hardy would become well prepared if it was to come to that.
They eventually had a house, a place for their dairy operation, farm land well maintained, places for their servants, an irrigation system, livestock, and more! They were well prepared if Indians were attack. They had a tower in the house that could serve as a lookout, firearms, rockets (to light up the space and also to scare the Indians), and a fence.
Of course, this all took time, and children will be children, and these children grew. Also, Sarah their maid got married to one of their men and so stayed with them.
The Hardy family eventually was attacked by the Indians – twice. Both were won by the Hardy family, and the last of the two made Frank a respected man among the Indians.
While I don’t believe that the Indians ever attacked the Hardy’s property again, their friend’s property was attacked and unfortunately, Ethel had stayed the night!
The Hardy’s were delivered the message via messenger and of course were distressed. However, they began to hope that terrible as it would be, Ethel had been carried off alive.
They recruited men to help them recapture Ethel from the Indians. After some hardships, the men found a signal left by one of the Indians who was on good terms with the Hardy family as they had saved his life. The signal found, they located the Indian village where Ethel was located; and with the help of the kind Indian, recaptured Ethel.
Now, when it was found out that Ethel was the daughter of the “white Chief,” anger ensued towards her. This was probably because of the loss of lives which the Hardys had in protection for themselves, reaped upon the Indians.
However, before they could kill her or even really torture her, she was saved by the Indian and two others whose lives had been spared by her family.
While they had rescued Ethel, the rescue operation had caused a bit of a stir (a bit?). A fight followed in which many died – including the death of two of their comrades. There were also many wounded, and Charley had the side of his face completely laid open!
However, the group of rescuers were glad to have Ethel back. There were other changes that took place after the fight including the loss of the Indian leader and the election of the Raven (the Indian who had saved Ethel’s life) to the position of leader. This caused the Indians to become on good terms with the Hardys.
The Hardys, now much older than they were when they arrived (and a good bit wealthier) made plans. These plans included that the girls and their Mother would leave to go back to England. Two years later Frank followed them and made England his permanent home, although he may have come back from time-to-time to visit Charley and Hurbert (who were now running the estancia). As time went on, all four of the children, who had now become young adults, were married. Eventually, Charley settled down into the life of a country gentlemen; Hurbert’s income was sufficient for his wants and he became a member of a number of scientific societies; Maud married a man by the name of Mr. Cooper; and Ethel married a rising barrister in London.
All in all, the decision to move to South America was a profitable one and one that changed their lives for the better!
I will end with a quote from the book:
“The girls are very happy with the men of their choice; and Mr. and Mrs. Hardy have always some of their children or grandchildren staying with them, and often amuse the young ones with tales of how their fathers or mothers fought the Indians on the pampas of South America.”