I’ve found my cover graphic for Rule!


For a book of stories about empires, that’s set in various parts of the globe over the last 1100 years, what could be a more appropriate cover design than an old map?

And, isn’t this one a beauty?  This a world map published around 1730 by engraver and mapmaker Daniel Stoopendaal, of Amsterdam. The map depicts the world in hemisphere projections enlivened by wonderful drawings.


Repulse in dockRule! is Volume II of Helena’s Stories: Britannia

Volume II is made up of short stories that track the development of the British Empire mostly set in Europe, Britain and in the Far East under the British Raj. These are stories attributed to my ancestors, and they personalize history. Rule! is scheduled to come out next January (2017). Watch this site for more information.

This 1820 rendering of the the East Indiaman freighter Repulse in the East India Dock Basin comes from Wikipedia

Here’s a clip from Rule!


St. Helena

 In late 1829 John Anderson with his wife, Mary Alison Carnegy Anderson, their six children and two servants, set out by on the East Indiaman ship Repulse from Penang, where he was Justice of the Peace. They were returning to John’s family home in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. About half way across the Atlantic, they ran into difficulties.

Aboard the East Indiaman freighter Repulse

South Atlantic Ocean – late 1829

Floating bodies, tossed on the waves… oh, God… don’t think of those! The captain and the crew will know how to take care of themselves. Think of your children: you must protect them at all costs. Though his heart was pounding, John Anderson forced himself to be calm as he entered the children’s cabin. They were all there, his family: the six children, from ten-year-old Alison to baby William, and his sweet wife Mary. They were all so precious to him and all so vulnerable. We are all vulnerable at sea. He made himself smile as if nothing was wrong.

“Edna, Alma, please excuse us: I need to borrow my wife. Mary? Come with me, please.” The Nanny and wet nurse started a new game with the children, and John and Mary went to their quiet cabin.

As soon as the door was closed, Mary started pacing back and forth. It was a nervous habit she had trouble controlling. “John, what is happening? All day I’ve heard talk, horrible talk, though I don’t know what to make of it.”

“I have just come back from speaking with the Captain, my dear. There really is no need to be worried, as we will be fine. But, we must leave this ship very soon: before nightfall.”

“Leave the ship? So, it is sinking? Oh, my babies…” He could see how frightened Mary was. John took her hand and led her to sit on the bed. He sat beside her.

“The Captain told me that there is a leak in the hull. He says it has probably been there for about ten days and only has been noticeable for the last three, as it is growing. He thinks it came from strain on the timbers during that very heavy storm we went through rounding Cape Horn. The crew has been trying to repair it, but it keeps getting larger, and now it is starting to let in quite a lot of water. He fears that the ship could sink before noon tomorrow or possibly sooner, and is ordering that all the passengers abandon ship before dawn. The crew will continue to try to save the ship. If they succeed, they will come out to find the boats and bring us back aboard. If they do not succeed, they will do what… what they do. At least, we’ll be safe.” May God help them!

“This is a very great deal to consider. John, how can we all be safe in a boat? And for how long?”

“We will be safe, Mary. The Captain wants us to leave first, to leave now, as we are a large family group and will make up a full boatload. With the children, Edna and Alma, we will fill the smaller launch at capacity. While we are speaking, they’re loading that launch for us with blankets and a good supply of food and water.”

Mary couldn’t help wondering: “John, are there enough boats for everyone onboard?”

“I don’t know, Sweetheart. But we can’t worry about that, as we can’t help. But, at least, we will be fine.” I hope we will be fine. “I know the direction we must travel to reach land, and I know a bit, at least, about navigation. The boat has a small mast and sail we can use most of the time, and if the winds fail us, we will row. At worst, things may be difficult for a few days, but if we’re careful, we will surv… we will be fine.”

John ran his hand over his thinning, sandy hair. “Mary, this is not something I would choose, certainly, but it is the best action we can take. I want us to be on that boat, well away from a ship that may be sinking, just as soon as we can be. Fortunately, we’ve traveled well beyond the hazards of Cape Horn, and the weather is warm here. Now, my love, we must collect the children and only very a few needed things and prepare to board the launch. There is no alternative for us, and there is not much time.”

Mary seemed to collect herself. She clearly understood. She smiled at him more, and took his hand. “All right, John. I have faith in you. We can manage this. It will be hard with the children, but we’ll make it out to be an adventure. It actually is an adventure, of sorts, don’t you think? And we will, of course, pray for the safety of the crew; I don’t believe that there’s anything else we can do to help them.”

Mary stood up and started pacing again, but it was clear that this time she was making plans.

“Yes: I shall ask Alma and Edna to make this into an adventure for the children. They will do that well. And we must decide what we can bring. Oh, my, John, don’t forget to bring our money with you! If they cannot… cannot save the ship, we can hope to end up in a place where we can actually use it. Hopefully, we’ll find a place from which we can travel home on another ship.” She seemed reassured by this reasoning, and by having something to do.

John looked at his wife with his usual twinkle. “Don’t you forget to bring a chamber pot! You know, my darling, we’re actually in quite a good situation for a large family on a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean.”

Within an hour, the Anderson family was settled in the little launch, with John making up rhymes to amuse the children, about boats and stoats and goats wearing coats. They passed a strange but not too uncomfortable night on the open sea, waiting to see what would happen.

Dear Lord, please spare and comfort any poor people still on the ship, and those of us out here in boats, as well. As dawn broke the next morning, Mary was surprised that she could not see any other boats, and she wondered if they had not been launched, or had drifted out of sight.

This is horrible. While John controlled the launch’s movement, Mary and the two servants tried to divert the children’s attention from the ship, It was hard not to watch, though, as the huge freighter started listing strongly to starboard. It was clear that the ship would be lost. The ocean is so vast that even that great ship is tiny on it.

“Children, we should all pray.” “Yes Mama,” Alison said, and she helped the younger children. All them except baby William obediently folded their hands and bowed their heads, though it was likely that only the older two actually understood what was happening. They listened quietly while Mary prayed for the souls of all on board the Repulse. When she said “Amen”, they all joined in, even two-year-old Lily, who shouted it. Alison reached over and tickled her little sister. What a fine girl Mary Alison is! I am so proud of her.

Cautiously, John rowed their boat even further away from the ship. “I want to be sure that the launch is safely away should… anything happen.” Mary understood. He wanted the launch to be far out of range of the huge whirlpool which would be created when a ship that size sank.

By midday, the sun was beating down on them mercilessly, and the wind was light. The heat was becoming oppressive. They could not see any other boats, and the Repulse was gone.

John Anderson looked judiciously at their supplies and at the unbroken eternity of ocean around them. Testing the breeze, he decided to set sail. It was time to try to find the nearest land. They were on their own.


Author’s note:

In an old Davies family story, Helena Adelaide Anderson (who married Horatio Nelson Davies – they were my great-great-great grandparents) was said to have been born in 1830, on St. Helena Island when her family was shipwrecked there. She was named for the island of her birth.

We know that John and Mary Alison Carnegy Anderson, with their six children, traveled from Penang to Scotland during 1829-1830, when this story would have occurred. The ship involved was not identified in the family tale, however the East Indiaman freighter Repulse was apparently a regular on the China run, and it is one of the few East India Company freighters for which there are no records (that I could learn of) about its disposition. Records of the ship end around 1830, so it is possible, maybe likely, that it sank in the South Atlantic. Shipwreck data from those times is pretty spotty.  



Here’s the complete bibliography for Rule!

Author’s Note: Perhaps you, like me, resemble Rudyard Kipling’s Elephant’s Child “who was full of  ‘satiable curtiosity’, and that means he asked ever so many questions.” If so, you might wonder what flower a kind Prioress in a 13th Century convent would offer a young nun as encouragement, or what Scotswomen of the 15th Century wore instead of a coat, or what an officer on “half pay” from the British Navy was expected to do. Or, maybe you wonder where I found Kipling’s “The Elephant’s Child.” To make these family stories as accurate and realistic as possible, I accessed a lot of information. The full bibliography for Rule! contains more than two hundred references, of which I listed thirty in the book. So, here’s the full list. Though a reference might deal with something as tiny as the availability of daffodils in the 1200’s, these details make up the environments in which the characters live.

It is a wonderful thing to live in a time when information is so readily accessed and cross-referenced.

 Rule!’s Bibliography

Anderson, Captain Robert Patrick, ed. Lieutenant Thomas Carnegy Anderson. A Personal Journal of the Siege of Lucknow. London: W. Thacker & Co., London, 1858. Google Books edition.

Asimov, Isaac. The Shaping of England. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969.

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. I (MUP), 1966

Barrera, Sarah and Corbacho, Eva – Guest Bloggers. The Ongoing Tragedy of India’s Widows. June 22, 2012

Bates, Dr. Crispin. “Mutiny at the Margins,” from Subalterns and Raj: South Asia since 1600. London: Routledge, 2007. Found at

Black, Adam Charles. Who’s Who, an Annual Biography. London: MacMillan & Co., 1904.

Boast, Richard A. Buying the Land, Selling the Land: Governments and Maori Land in the North Island 1865-1921, Victoria, NZ: Victoria Press, 2008.

Boisson, Philippe. Safety at Sea – Policies, Regulations and International Law. Edition Bureau Veritas. Paris: 1999, ISBN 2-86413-020-3, accessed January 2017

Browning, C. H., Genealogist to the Baronial Order. “Magna charta barons and their descendants, with the story of the Great Charter of King John: sketches of the celebrated twenty-five sureties for its observance, and their lineal descents from them of the members of the baronial Order of Runnemede.” London: Publication Committee of the Baronial Order, 1915.

Burke, John and Burke, John Bernard. Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, Vol II. London: Henry Colburn, 1867. Google Books edition.

Cave, Edward as Sylvanus Urban, Gent. The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle, Volume 103, Part 1, January to June 1833. London: Samuel Ayscough, 1833. Google Books edition.

Cavendish, Richard. “Marriage of James IV of Scots and Margaret Tudor,” History Today, Volume 53, Issue 8, August 2003, accessed December 2016.

Childs, John. The Williamite Wars in Ireland. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007.

Clark James Stanier, McArthur, John. The Naval Chronicle: Volume 6, July-December 1801: Containing a General and Biographical History of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, Volume 6. London: Cambridge University Press, republished September, 2010.

Cole, George S.  A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods and History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, Wool and Other Fibrous Substances. Chicago: W. B. Conkey & Co, 1892. Google Boks edition.

Costain, Thomas B. The Conquering Family. New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2012.

Dales, Douglas. Alcuin Theology and Thought. London: James Clark & Co., 2013.

Davis, H. W. Carless. Charlemagne, a Hero of Two Nations. New York: G. P. Putnam & Sons, 1899. Google books edition.

Durant, Will. The Age of Faith. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950.

The Economist, December 17, 2011

The English Peerage, or A View of the Ancient and Present State of the English Nobility, Vol. I. London: P. T. Spilsbury and Son, 1790. Google Books edition.

Fletcher, Richard. Converting by the Sword.  Christian History Institute, Issue 63, 1999, accessed online December 2016. https//

Gardiner, Samuel R. A Student’s History of England, Vol. I. London: Longmans, Green & Company, 1916, Gutenberg edition.

Gaskoin, Charles J. Alcuin: His Life and Work. London: C. J. Clay & Sons, 1907. Google books edition.

Goddard, T., Richards, G., Craddock and Joy. A Biographical Index to the Present House of Lords, Corrected to 1808. Great Britain: 1808. Google Books edition.

Guard, Rev. Wesley: Chief Incidents of the Siege of Derry with some Extracts Related to the Battle of the Boyne. Dublin: George Herbert & Co., 1884. Google Books edition.

Hackley, Erina Caroline Davies. “Helena Adelaide Davies,” unpublished monograph, California: May 24, 1998. Davies family collection.

Hedges, Chris. Where Sailing Was a Passage to Doom. Dallas Morning News, March 08,1988, quoted in

history.html “Arthurian Romances in Brittany”,_George_(1618-1690)_(DNB00),_Surgeons,_Dentists_and_Apothecaries_in_England,_Duke_of_Brittany hours,_Duchess_of_Brittany conquest_of_Ireland’s_Oak,_Queen_of_Castile,_Duke_of_Brittany,_Count_of_Anjou,_Abbess_of_Chelles’s_First_War_of_Independence_(term),_1st_Marquess_of_Dalhousie,_New_South_Wales,_Aachen,_1st_Earl_of_Tyrconnell,_Duke_of_Aquitaine,_1st_Earl_of_Pembroke

Isaacson, Cecil J. Admiral Lord Nelson and his Homeland. Los Angeles: Volt Corporation, 1983.

Kaye, Sir John William. Malleson, George Bruce. Kaye’s and Malleson’s History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-8, W. H. Allen & Co., London, 1888, page 381. Cited in

Kipling, Rudyard. “The Elephant’s Child.” The Just So Stories. Doubleday Page & Co, 1912. From Google Books.

Kipling, Rudyard. “The English Flag.” The Works of Rudyard Kipling: One Complete Volume. A Public Domain Book from Kindle, Location 1398 of 12324.

Matcham, Mary Eyre. The Nelsons of Burnham Thorpe. New York: John Land Co., 1911.

Norton Topics On-line, A Web Companion to The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8 th Edition.“The Victorian Age: Victorian Imperialism Overview.”

Olian, Joanne, Editor. Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from “La Mode Illiustré. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1988.

Scott, Sir Walter. The Miscellaneous Works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet, Volume 27. London: A. and C. Black, 1871. Kindle edition.

Scoville, Warren Candler. The Persecution of Huguenots and French Economic Development, 1680-1720. Berkley: University of California Press. 1960.

“Services of Major-General Horatio Nelson Davies, Bengal Staff Corps” in Davies Family files. Source unknown.

Singh, General V. K. “Barrackpore Mutiny, Contribution of the Armed Forces to the Freedom Movement in India.Quoted in:

Staff Writer. “Worse things still happen at sea: the shipping disasters we never hear about.” http://www.The January 10, 2015.

Staff writer for, Sept 12, 2016

Steiner, Liston, Grundy.  St Helena: Ascension, Tristan Da Cunha. Bradt Travel Guides, 2007.

Trailokyanath, Mitra, M.A., D.L. The Law Relating to the Hindu Widow, Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta.

Walker, Rev. George. Walker’s Diary of the Siege of Derry in 1688-89. Londonderry: James Hempton, 1806.

Walsh, John. Haydon, Colin. Taylor Stephen. The Church of England c.1689-c.1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism. London: Cambridge University Press, October 7, 1993.

Walter, Sir Richard. A Million of Facts, and Correct Data, in the Entire Circle of the Sciences. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, around 1830.

Williams, Neville, Editor. Milestones of History, “The Expanding World of Man.” New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1970.

Witherow, John. A History of the Siege of Londonderry and the Defense of Ennniskillen, http//: 1689/Contents.php.

Wrigley, E. A. People, Cities and Wealth.  Blackwell Publishing, 1989. Quoted in

https// Anderson Esq. 8#q=origin+of+the+word+sepoy. 1689/Contents.php

Thank you to Google Books, Kindle Books, and Wikipedia, as well as the many other contributing sites and libraries.










Staff writer for, Sept 12, 2016

From Davies family records.,,

Sanderson Beck, “Burma, Malaya and the British 1800-1950”