Dick Callum’s astronomy book in Arthur Ransome's 'Winter holiday'
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Arthur Ransome's characters in his 'Swallows and Amazons' series refer to real books, E. F. Knight's Sailing, Fridtjof Nansen's Farthest North, J. G. Wood's The common objects of the country and so on. The only one still unidentified, as far as I know, is Dick’s astronomy book. Winter holiday was published in 1933, so Dick's star book would have been in circulation then, and was probably aimed at a popular rather than an academic audience. 'Winter holiday' includes the following clues:
> Dorothea and Dick were not very good at lighting a fire, and instead of doing
> it the proper way with a handful of dry grass or the tiniest twigs Dick, after a
> last regretful look by lantern-light at the picture of the rings of Saturn, took
> the paper wrapper off the star-book and gave it to Dorothea.
> “It doesn’t really matter,” he said, “because the same picture is inside the book
> as well.”
> Dorothea went back to the fire and found the place in the book.
> “The light from the group known as the Pleiades (referred to by Tennyson in
> Locksley Hall)…”
> “Oh, hang Tennyson!”
> “The light from the group known as the Pleiades reaches our planet in rather
> more than three hundred years after it leaves them.”
Does this ring any bells with anyone, please?