The lads pulled their prettiest, but Dr. Alec would have reached the Point first, if Rose, in her flurry, had not retarded him by jerking the rudder ropes in a most unseamanlike way, and just as she got right again her hat blew off. That put an end to the race, and while they were still fishing for the hat the other boat came alongside, with all the oars in the air, and the jolly young tars ready for a frolic.
Did you catch a crab, uncle?
No, a blue-fish, he answered, as the dripping hat was landed on a seat to dry.
What have you been doing?
Good for you, Rose! I know what you mean. We are going to have him up to show us how to fly the big kite, for we cant get the hang of it. Isnt he great fun, though?
No, little Fun.
Come, stop joking, and show us what youve got.
Youd better hoist that fan for a sail.
Lend Dandy your umbrella; he hates to burn his pretty nose.
I say, uncle, are you going to have a Feast of Lanterns?
No, Im going to have a feast of bread and butter, for its tea-time. If that black cloud doesnt lie, we shall have a gust before long, so you had better get home as soon as you can, or your mother will be anxious, Archie.
Ay, ay, skipper. Good-night, Rose; come out often, and well teach you all there is to know about rowing, was Charlies modest invitation.
Then the boats parted company, and across the water from the Petrels crew came a verse from one of the Nonsense songs in which the boys delighted.
We live in a sieve and a crockery jar!
And all night long, in the starlight pale,
We sail away, with a pea-green sail,
And whistle and warble a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong.
Far and few, far and few
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve.
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