A Trip to China
Come, little girl, Ive got another dose for you. I fancy you wont take it as well as you did the last, but you will like it better after a while, said Dr. Alec, about a week after the grand surprise.
Rose was sitting in her pretty room, where she would gladly have spent all her time if it had been allowed; but she looked up with a smile, for she had ceased to fear her uncles remedies, and was always ready to try a new one. The last had been a set of light gardening tools, with which she had helped him put the flower-beds in order, learning all sorts of new and pleasant things about the plants as she worked, for, though she had studied botany at school, it seemed very dry stuff compared with Uncle Alecs lively lesson.
What is it now? she asked, shutting her work-box without a murmur.
How must I take it?
Put on the new suit Miss Hemming sent home yesterday, and come down to the beach; then Ill show you.
Yes, sir, answered Rose obediently, adding to herself, with a shiver, as he went off: It is too early for bathing, so I know it is something to do with a dreadful boat.
Putting on the new suit of blue flannel, prettily trimmed with white, and the little sailor-hat with long streamers, diverted her mind from the approaching trial, till a shrill whistle reminded her that her uncle was waiting. Away she ran through the garden, down the sandy path, out upon the strip of beach that belonged to the house, and here she found Dr. Alec busy with a slender red and white boat that lay rocking on the rising tide.
That is a dear little boat; and Bonnie Belle is a pretty name, she said, trying not to show how nervous she felt.
It is for you; so sit in the stern and learn to steer, till you are ready to learn to row.
Do all boats wiggle about in that way? she asked, lingering as if to tie her hat more firmly.
Oh, yes, pitch about like nutshells when the sea is a bit rough, answered her sailor uncle, never guessing her secret woe.
Is it rough to-day?
Not very; it looks a trifle squally to the eastward, but we are all right till the wind changes. Come.
Can you swim, uncle? asked Rose, clutching at his arm as he took her hand.
Like a fish. Now then.
Oh, please hold me very tight till I get there! Why do you have the stern so far away? and, stifling several squeaks of alarm in her passage, Rose crept to the distant seat, and sat there holding on with both hands and looking as if she expected every wave to bring a sudden shipwreck.
Uncle Alec took no notice of her fear, but patiently instructed her in the art of steering, till she was so absorbed in remembering which was starboard and which larboard, that she forgot to say OW! every time a big wave slapped against the boat.
Now where shall we go? she asked, as the wind blew freshly in her face, and a few, long swift strokes sent them half across the little bay.
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