I am not entirely sure who is rescuing who in this wonderful old ink drawing--I think it is the bear being pulled to shore, but his human friend is looking like he may have been through a bit of a hard time as well! What a tender hand hold between them, though, and such kindly looks toward one another...I really love this, and think it would make a fantastic gift for one's dearest and truest friend.
The handwritten text below the drawing is a (translated) excerpt from a verse of "Auld Lang Syne" a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788:
"We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there's a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o' thine!
And we'll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne."
I'd guess this drawing dates from the mid- to late 19th century and maybe it is Scottish. It is signed -- once below the text, and then initialed (proudly!) in the bottom right corner. There is some aging/darkening to the paper (consistent overall; no spots or unevenness) and small tearing around the left and right edges-- but overall it is in great condition and perfect for matting, framing, and hanging close, to remind one to be a trusty friend! 8 1/4" tall x 6 1/2" wide.