Jack always said he should be a sailor when he grew up.
No toy ever pleased him so much as a boat, and he was constantly imitating the ways of sailors, from dancing a hornpipe, down to floating about in a big round tub on the little stream which ran at the end of the garden.
“Wouldn't it be too lovely for words,” he said on one occasion when he was taking his sisters for a voyage in his tub-ship, “if we could go in a real big boat, and sail away across the sea?”
And that is exactly what they did do! For one summer day, Father and Mother and the children, Elsie, Doris and Jack, all went on board a big boat and steamed across the channel to France for a long holiday.
Oh! What a glorious time they had! What fun the bathing was, undressing in the little rocky caves and running down the firm sand, and then tumbling into the water with shouts of joy. Then afterwards they paddled and dug in the sands, and searched for shells and seaweed, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves the whole day long.
There was so much to interest them, too, in the little French village, and they were delighted with the quaint1 dresses of the peasants.
One girl came to bring them fruit and vegetables, and the children thought how pretty she looked in her snowy cap, coloured skirt and wooden shoes, as she lifted her little sister to look for father's boat.
Jack, of course, was just in his glory, and never tired of watching the fishing boats sailing out to sea.
Sometimes he went on the water himself, and soon learned to row, though the first time he tried, his oar swung round and knocked him head over heels into the bottom of the boat.
This, Father explained, was called “catching a crab!”
Afterwards they made a huge sandcastle, and Jackie sat at the top of it, singing: “I'm the King of the Castle!” at the top of his voice.
Presently he began to examine some shells and treasures which he had been collecting in his pail, and was so intent2 on this, that he did not notice how quickly the tide had come in.
When he looked up he found, somewhat to his horror, that he was quite surrounded by water.
The castle was soon washed away; but not before the “King” was rescued from his perilous position.
Father waded out3, and pick-a-backed him safely ashore.
That was the little sailor's first adventure at sea!
The last time for Jackie to sail his boat came all too soon for him, and the next day the children found themselves back in old England once more.
But they hope someday to return for another delightful holiday to the dear little French fishing village where they spent such a pleasant time.
1. quaint interesting or attractive with a slightly strange and old-fashioned quality
2. intent concentrating on something hard
3. wade out to walk out of water or other liquid that is not very deep