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The Good Ship Rover   By:

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


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... Continue reading book >>

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