Welcome to the first installment of The Girl from the Sea by me! It’s the result of lots of inspiration going back several years; a couple of short stories; and a lot of hard writing! It is a children’s adventure story based at 7 to 10 year olds and has a brilliant and courageous young heroine who witnesses a horrible crime. Her longing to escape to see lead her on a terrible and exciting adventure! Tune in every Thursday for the next installment.
The Girl from the Sea – Patricia Chubb
Frankie hitched up her trouser legs and waded out of the river with a clutch of trout in her grasp. A good day’s fishing always brought a smile to her face. It was so peaceful along the river and none of the boys bothered her. They were used to her by now. She headed home whistling a jaunty little tune. Her hair was piled up under her father’s second best cap and she wore her brother’s old clothes rolled up to the knee and a shirt rolled up to the elbow. It was so much more practical for fishing than a dress!
She burst through the front door with her prize. “Fish for dinner Ma!”
“Frances Louise!” The exclamation brought Frankie up short.
“What on earth are you wearing? Where is your dress? Please tell me that nobody saw you outside in that condition!”
“Only the fish!” Frankie retorted.
“That’s enough cheek out of you miss. I’ve just about had enough of this nonsense Frances. Go upstairs and take Anthony’s clothes off. Wash off that dirty river water as well. Anyone would think you were a boy with all of the nonsense that you put me through.”
“But…” Frankie interrupted.
“Don’t but me. I’m fed up with it. I had hoped for at least one of my children to be a girl and the one girl that I do have is a worse behaved boy than the real boys! I cannot worry about you, wondering where you are every second of the day, while you’re traipsing around the countryside without a care in the world. I’m tired of it Frances. You are a young lady and it’s about time that you started behaving like one.
“Perhaps it’s my fault and I’ve been too lenient with you all these years – letting you play rough with the boys.” She paused as if she was expecting Frankie to interrupt her. Frankie knew better than to say anything.
“Frances, I want you to have the best opportunity of improving yourself, of making something of yourself, so I would like you to consider going to stay with Aunt Margaret and cousin Cecily so you can have some female influence over you. It’s not forever, but at least for the holidays.”
Mother paused again. Frankie’s mind was whirling. She couldn’t bear Sissy or Aunt Margaret. Sissy was a pristine china doll with perfect hair and ribbons which stayed in. To spend the whole of the holidays with them would mean tea parties and sewing. Sissy had a tutor in the holidays too which meant study. No outdoors, no fishing, no fun! She couldn’t see a way out of it. She needed to buy some time. Mother was looking at her expectantly.
“You want to get rid of me?!” exclaimed Frankie, putting a quiver in her voice and a tremble on her lip.
“On the contrary, Frances, I want you to make the most of yourself, and don’t think that the fake waterworks will work on me. I know that you don’t cry.”
“But I can make the most of myself here,” she protested without any sign of tears.
“No, absolutely not. My mind is made up. I obviously don’t have the correct influence over you.” Ma sounded sad, but Frankie hardened her heart – Ma obviously didn’t want her around any more and was sending her away. Away from everything she loved. She tried one last time.
“Ma, I’m sorry that you’re disappointed in me. I will try harder – please don’t send me away.” Begging was her last resort.
“I have tried, Frances. Again and again, but you don’t listen to me – only to your brothers. You need to be away from here and away from their influence. You’ll never learn to be a lady from them – you may learn how to keep a boat clean and tidy but not a house.”
“There are worse things I could learn,” thought Frankie who had been out with her older brothers on their fishing boat several times already. Her brain was churning with thoughts about how to get out of this – she needed time.
“Can I think about it at least Ma?” she implored.
“Very well Frances. I shall expect your answer in the morning. Upstairs, now and for goodness sake put something else on before the boys get in. We’ll have your fish for our tea – your last catch for us!” Mother’s eyes glinted with success – she thought she’d won.