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"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
"Suppose we go to China?"
"Isn't that rather a long voyage?"
"Not as I go. Steer round the Point into the harbour, and I'll give
you a glimpse of China in twenty minutes or so."
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