Arthur Ransome Wiki
Susan Walker
Name (and aliases):
Susan Walker (Susie; Mister Mate)
1 January
Mate of Swallow

Mate of Wild Cat
Mate of Goblin

Mate of Wizard
Native Residence:
Future career:
Major achievements:
Keeping the Swallows well, dry and well-nourished; steering Goblin while others slept

On questions of milk and drinking water and getting able seamen to bed in proper time, Susan was the one the natives trusted (observed by John Walker, PP4)

Susan Walker is the Mate of the Swallow, the second oldest of the Walker family children. Susan as the cook is responsible for stores, sleeping arrangements and safety. Along with John, Susan is the chief voice of reason in the two crews.

She ensures that standards of health and comfort are maintained even in camp, and bandages the injured Arctic explorers (herself, John, Titty, Roger and Peggy) after their sledge capsizes (WH16). She frequently uses iodine.

"I put all my trust in you, Susan", said Mrs. Blackett. "And you, too, John", she added. John grinned. It was kind of her to say it, but he knew she did not mean it. On questions of milk and drinking-water and getting able-seamen to bed in proper time, Susan was the one the natives trusted. When Mrs. Blackett. asks about the Callums, Nancy says What about Susan … She'll look after them (PP4).

Mrs Dixon says to the Ds: Well ... you’ll be coming to no harm, if you follow Miss Susan. (WH5).

Peter Duck picks John and Nancy as the two rowers to pick up Captain Flint from Crab Island: “Best pullers,” he said, “though maybe Mate Susan’s got more sense”. Grim though they were feeling, John and Nancy laughed. (PD31).

Though Susan is sometimes said to be in a native mood, when she insists on practicalities or rejects unreasonable suggestions, she is often more reasonable even than John. In We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea, Susan is challenged by the experience of the Goblin being swept out to sea. Although she is afraid, and suffers from seasickness at first, she is indispensable to John and the rest of the crew, and remains on deck to help manage the ship when she orders Titty and Roger below. She is also a valuable confidante for the Swallow's captain, understanding him more deeply than the younger two, and helping him to manage the sometimes unruly crew when it becomes necessary.

Susan has Geography as a holiday task (SD16).

She has a whistle (eg SA14), like Evgenia Ransome, who is the anonymous Cook in Racundra's First Cruise. Evgenia the whistle-blowing mate is often considered a prototype for Susan, e.g. by Susan Altounyan (CFTp39).
An unused sketch of Susan, published in CFT