- on Arthur Ransome Wiki, this book is frequently referred to by the abbreviation CFT
Arthur Ransome and Capt. Flint's Trunk is a book by Christina Hardyment. First published in 1984, it was instrumental in rallying fans of Arthur Ransome into becoming active and organised. The author's comments on the plight of Mavis, a sailing dinghy believed to be the original of Amazon, prompted many readers to contact her with offers of help, eventually bringing about the formation of The Arthur Ransome Society.
The book is partly a story of Hardyment and her family pinpointing and exploring the locations of Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series in the Lake District and East Anglia. She covered almost all places; a notable exception was the elusive Swallowdale valley which she left as a mystery for her readers to solve.
Hardyment focussed her investigations on the "real" adventures within the series, therefore elected not to travel to the Caribbean or China, respective locations of Peter Duck and Missee Lee. She also declined to visit the Hebrides, as she believed Great Northern? to be grouped with the former two Peter Duck stories. Her book revealed new insights into these three books, in particular:
- Peter Duck: Hardyment discovered the first two chapters for a book called 'Their Own Story', describing the Swallows and Amazons on holiday in Norfolk, making up a story about sailing to a treasure island.
- Great Northern?: Hardyment revealed Myles North's involvement in its genesis, hinted in the book's dedication and later documented further in Ransome's published letters.
She quotes from a notebook called "Walker’s Looseleaf Transfer Case" about the ages of the crew of Swallow: Dick twelve, Susan ten, Titty eight, Roger six, and a baby called Vicky who "did not count". The crew of Amazon were: Mary aged twelve, Jane thirteen and Tom, a younger brother aged three (CFT p22). In letters to the Reynolds about Coot Club, the main character Tom Dudgeon is a "P.B. or Principal Boy ... aet. 12 or 13 ... living say at Horning" (CFT p123).
CFT was republished by Frances Lincoln in 2006, revised and extended, with many additional illustrations.