This illustration is from Walter Farley's 1941 novel The Black Stallion. In it, teenage Alec Ramsay is returning home to New York after spending the summer visiting his uncle in India. The ship he is traveling on stops at a port in Arabia and an untamed stallion is loaded on. Alec- who loves horses- tries unsuccessfully to make friends with the stallion during the voyage. Then, during a storm, the ship sinks. Instead of getting in line for the lifeboat, Alec frees the horse, who then jumps over the ship railing, inadvertently knocking Alec overboard as well. The two of them end up on a desert island where, with little vegetation, it seems likely they will both starve until Alec figures out how to harvest edible seaweed, which he washes, dries and feeds to himself and the stallion who remains at first wary and hostile. One day, Alec looks up to find the stallion charging aggressively toward him. Thinking he's going to get trampled, he tries to leap out of the way but stumbles and falls. He then realizes that the horse is not attacking him, but a venomous snake which he hadn't noticed very close to where he was working.
The Black Stallion was one of my favourite books when I was a kid; I still have my copy, the cover of which is very bent and creased from much handling. I loved the adventure and of course, the wild black stallion galloping around. Thinking about it this week, I wondered if a horse would actually attack and trample a snake. I checked online and found a lot of anecdotal evidence about horses killing snakes which got into their stalls. There's a video on Youtube of a mule killing a snake which was in its field, and I suppose a horse wouldn't react much differently. Incidentally, there's also a really interesting video of a horse attacking and stomping on the head of an alligator which got a little too close to the herd. So I suppose this scene in The Black Stallion isn't too far fetched.
This illustration is from Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel North and South. This scene takes place during a strike by the workers at the various mills in Milton. Mill owner Mr. Thornton has had Irish hands brought in to work his cotton machines while the strike drags on. This infuriates the strikers who form a mob and go to his house. Margaret Hale, who is there to borrow some medical supplies from his mother, challenges Thornton to face his workers and talk to them as men. He does so, but Margaret is made uneasy by the seething mob and intervenes, attempting to calm the men. One of the rioters hurls a stone- no doubt meaning to hit Thornton- which catches Margaret on the temple, cutting her head and temporarily stunning her. The incident has serious consequences for both Margaret and Thornton as well as the strikers. North and South is a really good novel which deals with a number of issues including labour disputes between mill owners and their workers. It is a more even-handed book than Gaskell's earlier work Mary Barton, acknowledging the complexity of the situation. The mill workers have some legitimate grievances, but often the mill owners are helpless to redress them without bankrupting their businesses, which would not only ruin them but throw all of their employees out of work. It's a fascinating look at the benefits of- as well as the problems created by- the Industrial Revolution.
This illustration is from Sir Walter Scott's 1817 novel Rob Roy. It's set in Scotland in the time period leading up to the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. In this scene, the novel's protagonist, Frank Obaldistone, confronts his cousin, the turncoat Rashleigh, and engages in a duel with him. Their fight is broken up by Rob Roy MacGregor.