Arthur Ransome Wiki

Drinking of alcohol (like Smoking) is normal and acceptable for adults, and visitors may be offered a drink as a normal measure of hospitality. The books include references such as "opening time" and "dancing round a keg" which AR expected the reader to understand. Sometimes Nancy enlightens the younger ones.

Only Peter Duck has unacceptable drinking; as seen by Peter Duck, both on the Viper and on the Mary Cahoun the ship he was on sixty or so years ago. And perhaps in Missee Lee as seen by Nancy.

The Swallows and Amazons drink Pirate Rum or Grog; actually lemonade or ginger beer. .

Hospitality, offering a drink[]

  • When Sammy the policeman rows to the island and gets very hot John says I’m sorry we haven’t any beer, but there are one or two bananas left on that tree (SA24).
  • When the Ds go back to Dixon’s Farm for the start of the quarantine Mrs Blackett was saying that really just then she would rather not have any elderberry wine .... (WH9).
  • Daddy says to the pilot "Have a drink." Susan gets the medicinal rum, and Daddy "poured out the doses" (WD21).

Drinking by adults, usually men[]

  • The Billies say that Down in the pub at Bigland yonder there was a deal too much talk going on about the houseboat and what he has in it and ask the Swallows to warn Captain Flint (SA13).
  • And so you found Mr Turner’s box .... Dixon told me the news when he came from the village last night says Mrs Dixon (SA31).
  • The Flushing pilot understands that the Captain of the Goblin is having a merry barty and making merry in the cabin, and John is not to disturb him; so he made as if he were tipping a bottle down his throat. In harbour the pilot says when the others come out from the cabin And I dink de capten too merry in de cabin .... wid de bottle perhaps (WD20).
  • Daddy has a lager beer with the soup and steak in the café (WD23)
  • The three boatbuilders, fathers of Joe, Bill and Pete were on the way to have their midday pints at the inn (BS2)
  • Pete and Bill slunk suddenly off the road, out of the way of a couple of men strolling home ..... Closing time whispered Bill {BS27).
  • Mr Tedder says that he will tell everyone the Coot Club members are innocent I’ll be up the village, come opening time (BS32).
  • Ginger wine: The Great Aunt had some with her supper last night and I swiped a drop afterwards. Beastly stuff .... says Nancy (has she tried some?) (PM15).
  • Billy takes Nancy’s bike to get petrol as my bike’s wanting a back wheel .... I put my foot through t’spokes Saturday night (PM23).
  • The driver of the butcher’s van is playing at an important darts match in the tavern that evening, and when he gives the Great Aunt a lift he hopes for a tip, even 6d, as there was no harm in a glass of beer on a hot day (PM23).
  • Later at the mine Timothy offers Slater Bob food and a bottle of beer for lunch, and when Slater Bob says that I don’t mind a sup of beer Nancy explains privately to Dorothea that He means he jolly well likes it (PM24).

Drinking, as seen by Peter Duck[]

  • Long ago: when Peter Duck is stranded on the island and hears two men burying the treasure below the tree, one of the men says There’s not one will have thought of following us, not with that keg I let them take ashore. Across the island he sees half a dozen men singing and laughing round a keg. Then on the Mary Cahoun, the ship that rescues him from the island, he has his first swig of rum that ever I had in my life, which near took the skin off my gullet and is told that the ship is short of a cabin-boy since the old man threw the last one overboard to teach him swimming one day when he was playful like (ie drunk?). Later they kept me on the go fetching tots of rum and the nearer they come to England the more they’d drink though in the morning .... they was sober, more or less. But approaching the English Channel they come home with a westerly gale and a full skin of rum apiece, and they piled the "Mary Cahoun" on Ushant rocks. (PD5)
  • The Viper comes alongside the Wild Cat in the night; Mr Duck says They’ve been getting at the rum (PD11). Later Bill says that Half of em was drunk last night .... and some of ‘em was frightened. And Black Jake was letting fly at ‘em all night for the chance they’d missed (PD13).
  • At the end when the Wild Cat is fired at, Captain Flint says The drunken scoundrels. And us with children aboard but Mr Duck says It was no drunken man fired that, I’m thinking (PD34).

Overindulgence in Missee Lee[]

  • The guard on the pirate junk was hopelessly asleep. Peggy thinks he is dead, but Nancy says Opium, I expect. Smells horrible (ML4)
  • At the "Dragon Feast" banquet they all share with the Three Island pirates there are bowls of a queer drink that the did not like and there is no end to the feast. Later they left the courtyard Picking their way among the torpid pirates (ML24).

Sea shanties[]

  • They pipe up a tune when carrying loads up to Swallowdale. Titty sugests “Way Hay” starting with What shall we do with a drunken sailor? .... Early in the morning (SD13).