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´╗┐Title: The Good Ship Rover
Author: Hardy, Robina F.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Good Ship Rover" ***

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Transcribed from the [1888] T. Nelson and Sons, Home Sunshine Series, by
David Price, ccx074@pglaf.org

{Cover: cover.jpg}



THE
GOOD SHIP "ROVER."


T. NELSON AND SONS.
London, Edinburgh, and New York.



I.  HIGH AND DRY.


A gallant ship, some three feet in length, with full equipment of white
sails and sturdy masts, rigging, pennon, and figurehead; but it had never
seen the sea--never!  It had "cast anchor" nearly a year before my story
begins in the Leslies' nursery--a very pleasant, airy room, with nice
pictures on the wall and a good many toys scattered about, but certainly
not the very least resembling the sea.  In fact, I don't think Mrs.
Leslie would have liked if it had resembled it; for she was very much
afraid of the children being near a lake or a pond even, on account of
the dangers of damp feet and catching cold--two evils which always
haunted her mind more or less.  She was rather a delicate creature, often
ailing,--which, perhaps, was the reason of these nervous fancies; and
most of the children resembled their mother in this, that there was sure
to be something the matter with one or other of them most days of the
week.  The doctor was seldom long out of the house.  Fortunately, Dr.
Hammond lived just next door, so he was easily sent for; and Walter
Hammond, the doctor's eldest boy, was Harry Leslie's dearest and most
intimate friend.  The two boys were about eight years old, went to the
same school, spent most of their play-hours together, and intended both
to go to the sea together when they were old enough.  For Harry Leslie,
though he had never once seen the sea any more than his ship had done,
had heard and read a great deal about sailor life and adventures, and had
inspired Walter with the same admiration for these as he himself felt.
Besides, his uncle Jack, Mr. Leslie's brother, who had made the ship for
his little nephew, had often told him stories about the sea which he
treasured in his heart all the more, perhaps, because he was so often
mured up by his nursery walls, or even in his little iron bed, on account
of colds, coughs, measles, chicken-pox, etc.

Walter Hammond, unlike his friend, was a strong, bright, merry little
fellow, never a day in the house or away from school; but he was very
fond of Harry all the same.  Walter had only two sisters and then a baby-
brother, all of whom were rather young for him to play with, so he spent
a great deal of his leisure time in the Leslies' nursery.  What scores of
times had Harry and Walter studied and examined the _Rover_!  They had
taken down its sails and its rigging and its masts over and over again.
They knew every inch of its planks, every nail and screw about its
framework.  And how often they had spoken about the delight of launching
it in "real live water," in the wide blue sea perhaps!  That would be
something worth living for.

Harry and Walter were in the same class at Dr. Grierson's Academy in
Rosehampton, and very good scholars both were.  One or other was pretty
sure to be at the top most days, and if Walter was first, Harry would be
not far off, and _vice versa_.

One day, however, the rest of the boys were very much amused at some
strange mistakes made by these duxes.  Harry having been told to mention
some chief towns in Asia Minor, rashly began with "Kingshaven," and then
corrected himself, blushing and looking very much ashamed, while Dr.
Grierson himself had some difficulty in subduing the bursts of laughter
all down the forms.

Then Walter, who had been called upon to stand up and give some account
of the appearance and structure of a steam-engine, astonished everybody
by saying it had "_two masts_!"

That day the inseparable friends were very much lower down in the class
than they were accustomed to be, and it required no little effort on
their part during the succeeding days to prevent their thoughts from
wandering, and to keep them fixed on the more dry and uninteresting
subjects of their lesson.

The younger Leslies were also much excited about going to the sea-side;
but visions of shell-gathering, digging in the sands, and such mild
pursuits, were quite enough for them; and, indeed, they knew so little
about the sea that they had no materials whereof to form any more
brilliant plans.  As to bathing, they were rather frightened about that,
considering that it must be something like going into the green nursery
tub, but with very cold water to wash in!

Walter had been at Margate once with his father, and could describe the
sea to Harry in very lively terms.  The sands, the bathing-coaches, the
rocks, the billows--nothing was forgotten in Walter's narratives.  But,
alas! the little town of Rosehampton, where they lived, was very far away
from any part of this enchanting ocean, and for long there seemed no
chance whatever of Mrs. Leslie consenting to let her children brave the
perils of a month's residence near the sea.

"I like them to go to the country," she would say to her husband or the
doctor, who often recommended sea-air, "and to think of them running
about on the grass when it is dry and sunny; for it is very close and
airless sometimes here in Diamond Terrace in the long summer days.  But
do let me keep to dry land.  It makes me quite nervous to think of Harry
falling over the rocks or getting into boats, and Bobby and Frank getting
their feet wet constantly on the shore when they are _so_ subject to
bronchitis."

"Pooh, pooh, my dear!" her husband would say, "you are far too much
afraid of these children getting into danger.  It makes them little molly-
coddles, indeed it does."  But he was an easy-going man, who let his wife
do pretty much as she liked, and did not interfere with her management of
house or children.

"Mamma," said Harry one day, "how is it that Uncle Jack _never_ catches
cold?--and, besides, he has never been drowned."

"Hush, Harry; don't talk so rashly.  You don't know what may happen to
your uncle yet.  And I do wish he wouldn't tell you all those long
stories about the sea when he comes; they make me quite miserable."

"I like them _awfully_, mamma," cried Harry, "and so does Walter.  And do
you know, mamma, Walter and I are both going to be sailors when we grow
big.  Only I do wish we might sail the _Rover_ first in real sea-water;
it would look so splendid!"

"Well, Harry, be a good boy," said his mother, who did not like to
disappoint her boy more than was for his good, "and don't go on talking
about being a sailor, for that you shall never be.  Your papa and I will
never hear of it.  As to Walter, his father may do what he pleases; but
you are going to help your father in the warehouse when you grow big, so
you don't need to trouble your head about anything else.  But, as I was
saying, if you are a good boy till next holidays, I promise to take you
all to Kingshaven, and you shall sail your ship as much as you like from
the little jetty or the rocks.  It is a nice safe place with lovely
sands--if the sea ever can be said to be _safe_."

Harry listened in silent amazement to these words.  The utter crushing of
his hopes as to sailor-life was for the moment completely forgotten in
the near and enchanting prospect held out to him in its place.  But he
was a kind-hearted, affectionate boy, and even in this hour of excitement
he did not forget his friend.

"But Walter, mamma?" he cried, as his mother was leaving the room,--"how
can I sail it without Walter?"

"Well, you can ask Walter to come with us.  I daresay he will be very
glad," said his mother, calling back from the staircase, for she was in a
hurry about some household affair.

Harry clapped his hands, and ran to tell Walter, who was equally
overjoyed at the idea of going to Kingshaven with Harry.  So they set to
work and counted the weeks and days that must elapse until the holidays
came round, and then they once more thoroughly overhauled the "good ship
_Rover_" to see if it was water-tight and ready for its first voyage.

It would be literally its first voyage.  Harry and Walter had tried the
green tub that belonged to the nursery, but in vain.  It was not nearly
long enough.  Cook would not let them try the fixed tubs in the laundry,
and it was very doubtful if even they would have held the _Rover_.

The bath would have done so easily, and longing eyes had often been fixed
on it with that idea.  But Mrs. Leslie was inexorable--no such dabbling
among water, either hot or cold, was to be permitted; so the _Rover_
still stuck high and dry in the nursery window.



II.  THE SEA!  THE SEA!


The midsummer holidays at last came round, and Mrs. Leslie, who had been
busy packing up and arranging things for some weeks, now resolved to shut
up the house for a whole month and, with the family, set off for
Kingshaven.

It was a long way off--some thirty or forty miles--so it was quite like
an adventure to Harry Leslie and his little brothers and sisters, and
scarcely less so to Walter Hammond, who was to accompany them.  Dr.
Hammond could not leave home on account of his numerous patients; and had
it not been for this fine chance, Walter would have had only a few days
in the country now and then.  He was a good-tempered, sensible boy, and a
pleasant guest in any household.  Mr. Leslie would be able to go down
with his family to Kingshaven; but was to leave them there and return to
business, making his home for the time at a married sister's house in
Rosehampton.  So everything seemed promising; and even Mrs. Leslie,
naturally of a most anxious and troubled disposition, set off with hardly
a cloud on her horizon.

Harry had been very active in helping his mother all the day before the
departure, and once when carrying a heavy box down from the attics he had
felt it bump heavily against his knee; but being a brave little boy, he
said and thought nothing about it at the time.  All through the afternoon
and night, however, a strange, dull pain in the knee haunted him.  He did
not tell anybody, but he wished frequently it would go away before he got
to Kingshaven.  There stood the _Rover_, all nicely packed and ready for
the railway journey, and Harry's heart beat high when he thought how soon
he should see it riding proudly on the waves--the admired of all
beholders.

Harry wakened early on the Saturday morning that had been fixed for their
journey with this bright vision before his eyes; but a sudden shoot of
pain, as he moved his knee, made him fall back on his pillow and almost
scream for help.  He controlled himself, however, and began to examine
again the wounded spot.  There was a swelling; but the blue and black
marks he had seen last night were nearly gone.  The thing had rather too
white a look; but Harry took this for a good sign, and hoped it would be
all right before long.  He got up and dressed, slowly and with
difficulty, and still concealed even from his mother's sharp eyes that
anything was wrong.  Walter came round early, and in time the whole party
were off.

After a long but pleasant journey they reached the busy little sea-side
resort of Kingshaven--a brisk, rising town, greatly patronized by
families in search of bathing and safe boating and other marine
enjoyments.  Briery Cottage, which Mrs. Leslie had hired for the month,
was very satisfactory in every way but one.  It stood so far up in the
town and in such a position that no view of the sea whatever, not even
the tiniest bit, was to be obtained from its windows.  That was a
drawback certainly; and as they had only chosen it from an advertisement,
they had not taken this point into consideration.  It could not be helped
now.

"Well, it does not much matter, after all," said Mrs. Leslie.  "You
children will be all day long on the beach; and as for me, if I take my
knitting down to the rocks all the afternoons, I shall see as much of the
sea as I want to.  You know I am not so much in love with it as you all
are."

Briery Cottage, though it did not command a sea-view, was a very nice,
comfortable little cottage, with a pleasant garden in front and a long
strip of bowling-green behind.  In front passed the wide public road,
with many carriages and other vehicles constantly coming and going; so it
could not be called a dull place at all events.

"O mamma, what a nice place Kingshaven is!" said Harry, quite
enthusiastically.  "I'm sure I should never weary here even if we were to
stay for a whole year!"

"Not even if you didn't see the sea, Harry?" asked his father, laughing.

"Oh, but that would be impossible, you know, papa!" answered Harry.

Harry was to have a longer time at Kingshaven than he imagined, and
perhaps if he could have foreseen everything he would not have talked so
very confidently of "_never_ wearying."  But it is very good for all of
us that just one step of our way is open before us.  It helps to make us
humble and trustful, looking for guidance better and higher than our own,
and may often preserve us from being needlessly downcast and depressed.

Mr. and Mrs. Leslie were very glad to see all their children so well and
bright and so pleased with the holiday treat they had provided for them.

"I must come down on Monday morning to the shore before going home," Mr.
Leslie said to the boys as he saw them carrying their boat, "and see the
good ship _Rover's_ first voyage.  It will be quite a sight!"

"Oh, we are all coming!" added his wife.  "I assure you none of us would
like to miss the spectacle; and if none of the little ones fall over the
rocks, I'm sure everything will go well!"

By the time they got thoroughly settled in their new home it was getting
quite late in the day, so there was only time for a saunter all along the
beach and the parade and the principal streets of Kingshaven.  It was
with some difficulty that Harry managed to walk now; but so anxious was
he to secure his grand treat on Monday that he still kept his pain to
himself.  Walter and he had selected one delightful rock, stretching far
out into the sea, from which to make the first launch and trial trip of
the _Rover_.  There were lots of little boys already there, and on
similar rocks, sailing their tiny boats, but none of them had anything
the least like the _Rover_.

"We'll call it a pirate ship, Wat," cried Harry excitedly, "and it will
be grand to see it chasing the little boats all about.  What a splendid
thing the sea is!  I wish we could stay always beside it."

Walter agreed to all Harry said.

"Yes," he said, "that will be the very thing.  The _Rover_ is the very
name for a pirate ship, you know.  Let's be up in good time on Monday
morning, Harry, and be down here for a first venture by ourselves, in
case it doesn't work right just at the very first, you know, and people
might laugh."

So the two boys chatted and planned while Mr. and Mrs. Leslie and the
rest sallied on in front.  But Harry was not sorry when his mother gave
the order for everybody to go home and get to bed, so as to have a good
wash--it being Saturday night--and a good sound sleep before Sunday; for
Mrs. Leslie was a good mother, and loved to teach her children to observe
the Lord's day rightly, and to enjoy it in a way worthy of its sacred
rest.  The Leslies all liked going with their parents to church.  It was
never thought a weariness or a punishment even by the youngest.  They
could not, of course, understand all that was said and done there, but
they learned to sit quietly and reverently while their elders listened,
which was in itself a valuable training for after life; and there were
many portions of the service which they could appreciate for themselves.
Mr. Leslie always liked them to say over the text and the psalms and
hymns they had heard, and this was looked forward to by the youngsters as
quite a pleasant exercise.

But we must go on with the story.

"What are you thinking about, Harry?" said his mother as she bustled
about, getting Bobby and Frank, Lucy and Janey, washed and dried and put
to bed in the tiny nursery at Briery Cottage, which indeed was very
different from the one they had left at Rosehampton, though, with the
usual happy taste of children, Lucy and Janey thought their narrow cribs
ever so much nicer than the home ones; while Bobby and Frank considered
the two skylights here infinitely preferable to the large bow-window they
were accustomed to.

Harry was sitting in a contemplative manner upon a trunk on the landing
below, Walter having preceded him upstairs.

"Run after Walter and see that you two boys have a good scrub.  The bath
is ready for you; and see you don't hang about after it to catch cold,
but get into Blanket Bay as fast as you can.  I'm sure I feel quite ready
for it myself after all that trudging about over sands and rocks."

Thus admonished, Harry made his way upstairs to the back attic, where
Walter and he and the _Rover_ were moored.



III.  "BLANKET BAY."


Early next morning Walter Hammond knocked at Mrs. Leslie's door.

"Could you come and look at Harry's knee?" he asked in rather a
frightened voice.  "We think there is something wrong with it."

Mrs. Leslie lost no time, you may be sure.  And here, sure enough, she
found poor Harry lying in excruciating pain, and with a great white
swelling on his knee, which her experienced eyes saw at once was no
ordinary bruise or sprain.

"My boy!" she cried, "why didn't you tell me sooner?  If I had only
known!"

Harry could not help his tears flowing fast now.  It had been such a long
strain upon him to keep up hour after hour, that it was quite a relief at
last to have the very worst fully confessed.

"I thought it would go off, mamma," he said, "or I would have told.  And
I was so anxious to be well just now, for the sea; and oh, I can't move
one single step!"

"Don't cry, dear.  We'll send for the doctor and see what he says.  I
daresay he will make it better before long.  And you mustn't fret, you
know, or you'll make yourself worse."  So saying, Mrs. Leslie had the
nearest medical man sent for, and the little patient laid neatly and
comfortably in bed--as her skilful hands could well do.

Dr. Bell came, and pronounced poor Harry's a very grave case of what is
popularly known as "white swelling," brought on by the hurt he had
received, but chiefly owing to the little boy's very delicate system.  "He
must lie quite still for some weeks at least," said the doctor.  "There
must be no trying to get up or move about until I give permission."

Poor Harry! it was indeed a hard and bitter trial, and he did not then
know that he would yet be thankful one day for a lesson taught him by
this very trouble.  But, indeed, we very seldom know such things till the
time of trial is long past.

Walter was removed to a sofa-bed in the parlour, so as to give Harry more
room and air, since the little attic must be his sole abode for long
weeks in all probability.

And so it proved.  Harry lay there day after day, hardly daring even to
sit half up in bed for meals, and compelled to lie mostly on his back.
There stood the unfortunate ship _Rover_, whose piratical wanderings had
also been cruelly frustrated.  It stood on a table just below the
skylight, so that Harry could see it easily where he lay; but now the
sight rather added to his vexation than otherwise.  Would he ever be able
to sail it before they left Kingshaven and returned to Rosehampton?  It
seemed very unlikely.

Their kind friend Dr. Hammond came down at once on hearing of Harry's
illness--which was of course a great comfort, as he knew so well about
his little patient; but he only confirmed Dr. Bell's verdict, and
declared Harry must continue in the quiet quarters of "Blanket Bay," as
his mother called it.  The unfortunate thing of _this_ Blanket Bay was
that it did not look to the sea, nor indeed to anything but the sky.

The days passed wonderfully, however.  Harry was fond of reading, and
plenty of nice books were got for him; the younger children were, of
course, perfectly happy digging houses and castles in the sand; and
Walter did the best he could to amuse himself companionless, or with any
boys who seemed friendly and ready to play with him.  He did all he could
to amuse Harry, too, by coming home with stories of all he had seen, and
would sit for hours on the bedside chatting to him, if allowed; but Mrs.
Leslie said it was very wrong to waste his holidays that way, and
generally packed him off to the shore again.

Harry Leslie knew that to Walter as well as to himself it was a great
disappointment not to see the _Rover_ floated.  He thought over it many a
time, and being a kind-hearted boy in general, it did vex him not a
little that Walter also should be disappointed.  But the idea of his
telling Walter to take the _Rover_ down himself to the rocks, and have
the delight of seeing it ride proudly on the waves--oh, that was too much
for Harry!  If the idea ever did really present itself plainly to his
mind as a thing that might be done--and I am not at all sure that it
did--then it was put aside at once as a plan quite ridiculous and not to
be encouraged.  Harry had read of Sir Philip Sidney passing the cup of
water from his own parched lips to the dying-soldier who had still
greater need of it than himself, and he had thought it a grand and
beautiful action; but then it had never occurred to him that in his own
little common life--the every-day life of home and school, or it might be
sick-room--deeds of the _same kind of heroism_, though not by any means
so likely to be spoken of, were possible to and even required of him and
every one who wished to lead a brave and noble life.

It was not till nearly a fortnight had come and gone--half the time they
were to spend at Kingshaven--that some words of his father's set Harry
thinking of this very subject, and the thing struck him as it had never
done before.

Mr. Leslie had come down at the end of the week, as he always did, to
spend Sunday with his family, and to see how his little sick boy was
getting on.  He stood looking at the _Rover_ for a little that Saturday
night, and then said before leaving the room,--

"By-the-by, you've never got your grand ship sailed yet.  What will Uncle
Jack say when he hears of it?  But let me see.  Couldn't Watty there sail
it?  It's a sort of pity he shouldn't have some pleasure out of it, isn't
it?"

"O papa!" cried Harry as if in pain.

"Why, what is it?" said his father, alarmed at the crimson colour rising
in his son's face.  "Is the knee so painful, my man?"

"No, no, papa," said Harry, rather abashed; "I was thinking of what you
said.  You know it is _my_ ship--my very own.  How _could_ I let Walter
or any one else sail it, when I can't even look out and see it, you
know?"

Mr. Leslie was greatly surprised by this speech, but he was a
good-natured, easy-going man, as has been said, never liking to cross or
disappoint anybody if he could help it, and the sight of his poor little
Harry lying there perhaps weighed against his own better judgment.

"Ah!  I see," he said.  "You don't like it to go out of your own hands.
Well, you must just act 'dog in the manger' if you will, my boy.  It is
for yourself to judge.  I never meddle with other people's affairs,
whether about toys or big things!  You shall do exactly as you like with
your boat, my boy; and I daresay it won't be so very long before you and
Walter will be able to go down to the beach together.  By-the-by, did I
tell you I met Dr. Grierson, and he was asking most kindly for his little
scholar--quite sorry to hear of your being laid up, Harry?  And the young
Melvilles are perhaps coming down to Kingshaven before long.  You'll like
to see them again.  Jack Lowford had a nasty fall off that bicycle of
his.  He was coming down Grove Lane, where it is rather steep, you know,
and the thing went right over.  Jack cut his head badly against the big
gray stone at Mr. Sheffard's gate, and had to be taken into the house and
doctored up a bit before he could go home.  Very kind people these
Sheffards are, I must say.--But here comes Wat, who will give you news of
the beach more interesting than mine.  So good-night, my boy, and see
that you sleep sound."

So saying Mr. Leslie left him to repose



IV.  FAIRLY AFLOAT.


Harry Leslie lay long awake that night, thinking over the words his
father had carelessly enough dropped.  "Dog in the manger"--what did that
mean exactly?  He had heard the phrase more than once, but had never
stopped to consider it in any way.  Yet it was a plain sort of
illustration, carrying its own meaning along with it.  Harry had once
been staying in the country with some cousins at a farm-house called
Clover Hollow, and he remembered them all laughing one day at "Grip," a
little Skye terrier, that had got into one of the mangers in the stable,
and kept at a respectable distance the good old pony to which it
belonged, barking at him and refusing to allow him the enjoyment of his
own breakfast.  And Grip could not, of course, enjoy it himself--chopped
hay and oats not being at all in _his_ line.  Seemingly, the only
pleasure Grip derived from this performance lay in keeping "Donald," the
old pony, from having any breakfast!  And it was very laughable at the
time.  Yes; Harry understood the words perfectly.  And though it had been
laughable enough in the case of Grip, which was only a terrier, still,
however clever he might have been thought, Harry felt that it was not
quite the same when practised by rational beings.  True, he was only
keeping that which most clearly belonged only to himself, whereas Master
Grip had feloniously seized on the possession of another.  There was that
difference, certainly.  Still, there was something in the thing Harry did
not quite like.  He was usually a kind, unselfish sort of boy, and he did
not enjoy feeling that he was doing something rather miserly now.  And
then, just that evening, his mother had been reading some verses from the
Bible to him, as she usually did, and one of them had been: "Whatsoever
ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."  He had not
thought much about the words at the time, but they came back to his
memory now.

Early next morning Harry sent for Walter to come and speak to him.

"Wat," he said very cheerily, "the _Rover_ is going to make its first
voyage to-day.  Hurrah!  Aren't you glad?"

Walter stared at his friend and wondered if he had grown suddenly worse,
and was talking nonsense through feverishness.

"I doubt they won't let you out to the beach just yet, Hal!" he said
soothingly.

"No, indeed!" said Harry, smiling brightly.  "But _you_ are going to take
the ship down for me, and launch her, and all that.  Bobby and Frank will
go too, of course, and the girls, if nurse can take them; and then you'll
come back and tell me all about it--won't you, Wat?"

{Harry's proposal: p39.jpg}

"Nonsense, Harry, nonsense!" cried his friend.  "Why, we _couldn't_ do it
without you; it would be no fun at all.  Your own ship too.  No, you
needn't say another word about it."

But Harry kept to his purpose; and in time Walter felt that he was really
quite in earnest, and that to refuse would only vex him.

"Well, if you really want me to, Harry," he said reluctantly.  "But won't
you be awfully dull when I take the good ship away from your room?  You've
often said it was quite a companion to you when we're all out."

"Not a bit!" cried Harry bravely.  "I'm quite tired of seeing the old
thing on dry land.  I'm wearying awfully to know how it floats, and
you'll come home and tell me all about it.  Tell me if there were people
looking on, and if the pennons looked well when they were waving out at
sea, and all that.  I want to hear what everybody says about it, and if
they think the _Rover_ as fine a boat as they have ever seen at the Shelf
Rock before.  So you see, Wat, you must make haste and be off with it, or
I'll be quite put out, and that will be sure to make me worse again.  Ask
mamma if that isn't true!  I wonder I never thought of this before.  It
was awfully stupid of me, to be sure!"

His eyes sparkled brightly now, all the brighter, perhaps, because he had
just dashed away some childish tears; for he was very young, you must
remember, and also weak from illness.  He wanted to make his tiny bit of
self-sacrifice right bravely and cheerfully, feeling that a grudging
manner of giving sadly mars a gift.

Mr. and Mrs. Leslie were greatly pleased at hearing what Harry had
planned for the others, especially as it had come entirely from himself.
He had certainly not been urged to do it in any way; it had not even been
suggested to him.

{The "Rover" on a trial trip: p41.jpg}

Well, a large and enthusiastic crowd of juveniles gathered round the
Shelf Rock that afternoon to watch the good ship _Rover_ make her first
voyage on the deep.  And beautifully indeed did she spread her white
sails to the breeze, while, guided by a string secured in Walter's hand,
her graceful form cut the waves or danced lightly over them, her bright
red pennons floating gracefully from stern and mast.  It was quite a long
time before the excitement of this first voyage wore away.  Each of the
children had in turn to get a "hold" of the guiding-string; and great
amusement was caused by one of the wooden-doll sailors which Mrs. Leslie
had dressed for Harry's ship tumbling overboard and bobbing about for a
long time among the creeks and crannies of Shelf Rock.

At last "Jack-a-tar" was rescued by means of a hand-net which Walter had
for his natural history researches; and the little man was found to be
not a whit the worse, except for a drenching of his blue serge suit--for
even his well-glued-on hat had survived the fury of the waves.

You can imagine what a grand story all this made to tell poor Harry,
lying in his little bed under the skylight, with his back to the sea and
all the wonders thereof.  And no one was more delighted with the whole
affair than Harry himself, feeling quite a weight off his mind, now that
he had got quit for ever of that nasty "dog-in-the-manger" sort of
feeling.  How he laughed about poor Jack-a-tar, and took him into his own
hands to be thoroughly restored, while his mother took off the blue suit
to dry at the kitchen fire!

Altogether this was one of the happiest days Harry had spent at
Kingshaven.  Every day now the children took out the _Rover_, and many
happy hours they all spent with it.

Next week a visitor was announced.  It was Uncle Jack himself!  And along
with him came the biggest, bulkiest parcel you could imagine.  When it
was opened it proved to be a first-rate sort of invalid carriage, capable
of being folded up or out in any and every direction--quite an invention
of Uncle Jack's own brilliant genius.  Dr. Bell said it was the very
thing for his little patient, who would be able for it in a very few days
now.  Dr. Hammond also was greatly pleased with this new conveyance when
he came down.

Various little trial trips were made in this couch, at first only into
the front garden, and then into the long strip of bowling-green at the
back.  And how the little invalid _did_ enjoy the fresh, sweet summer
air, fragrant with honeysuckle and sweet-brier, and all the more
delightful to him from the whiff of strong salt and even _tar_ corning up
from the shore.  Harry felt as if he should soon be well and strong again
if he were only to have such nice rides as this every day.

At first his knee did pain him considerably even at the least motion; but
gradually, as he gained in health and strength, this wore away, and he
could be drawn quite a long distance and then left out in some nice
sheltered spot, with his book beside him, just to drink in the health-
giving breezes.

Uncle Jack's own strong steady hand was usually the one which drew him
about for many days.  It seemed to please the kindly sailor to do as much
for his little nephew.  And no one could pull the chair so well, Harry
thought, for he never felt much pain when Uncle Jack was in charge.  But
by-and-by Walter was allowed to try his skill at it, and very proud and
happy he was to try.  The best days were those when Harry could be taken
right down to the shore and set upon one of the more sheltered rocks; but
that was only when the weather was very dry and sunny and there was not
too much wind for the patient.

One very fine afternoon, however, quite a large party assembled at the
Shelf Rock.  There was Harry in his couch, laid snugly in the centre of
the group, Bobby and Freddy, Janey and Lucy dancing round him, mamma with
a large basket of good things encamped close by, and papa, Uncle Jack,
Walter, and good Dr. Hammond, all there to enjoy the family "_picnic_!"
But before the feast was spread the good ship _Rover_ was to be launched
once more, and that was done by Uncle Jack's well-skilled hands, after
which he put the guiding-string in Harry's white little hand and bade him
hold it firm.  Harry's eyes sparkled and his colour mounted; for he felt
the full pleasure of this moment, free from any mean or selfish thought.

After all this Mr. Leslie began to think it would be best just to let
Harry remain all the summer at Kingshaven, so he secured another cottage
nearer the sea than their present quarters; and here Harry remained, and
the children by turns, with nurse to keep order, and the parents looking
down now and again to see that all was right.  Walter had, of course, to
go back to school, and he was dux every day now since Harry was off the
field.  However, next year Harry managed quite to make up to him again,
being ever so much stronger then; and in due time the two boys went to
Rugby together, remaining fast friends as before.

But we are going on too fast.

Let us look back first to the little seaside cottage where Harry is so
happy--never wearying of Kingshaven, as indeed he had declared he never
would, even when he knew not how long his stay was to be.  He is taken
out to the beach every day by careful hands, and is gathering strength
bit by bit.  Often he is carried over to the Shelf Rock, from there to
guide with his own hand the beautiful gliding movements of his pretty
ship.  Harry feels that this past time of trial has been a blessing to
him, since it has saved him from growing into a grasping or selfish boy;
and he looks back with pleasure on a sight he did not see--the first
voyage of

THE GOOD SHIP "ROVER."





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