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The Sands Of Pleasure
by [?]

Ladies first, so we will start with Jenny. Jenny is only nine, but she has been to the seaside before and knows all about it. She wears the fashionable costume de plage, which consists of a white linen hat, a jersey and an overcrowded pair of bathing-drawers, into which not only Jenny, but the rest of her wardrobe, has had to fit itself. Two slim brown legs emerge to bear the burden, and one feels that if she fell over she would have to stay there until somebody picked her up.

She is holding Richard Henry by the hand. Richard Henry is four, and this is the first time he has seen the sea. Jenny is showing it to him. Privately he thinks that it has been over-rated. There was a good deal of talk about it in his suburb (particularly from Jenny, who had been there before) and naturally one expected something rather–well, rather more like what they had been saying it was like. However, perhaps it would be as well to keep in with Jenny and not to let her see that he is disappointed, so every time she says, “Isn’t the sea lovely?” he echoes, “Lovely,” and now and then he adds (just to humour her), “Is ‘at the sea?” and then she has the chance to say again, “Yes, that’s the sea, darling. Isn’t it lovely?” It is obvious that she is proud of it. Apparently she put it there. Anyway, it seems to be hers now.

Jenny has brought Father and Mother as well as Richard Henry. There they are, over there. When she came before she had to leave them behind, much to their disappointment. Father was saying, “Form fours, left,” before going off to France again, and Mother was buying wool to make him some more socks. It was a great relief to them to know that they were being taken this time, and that they would have Jenny to tell them all about it.

Father is lying in a deck-chair, smoking his pipe. There has been an interesting discussion this afternoon as to whether he is a coward or not. Father thought he wasn’t, but Mother wasn’t quite so sure. Jenny said that of course he couldn’t really be, because the King gave him a medal for not being one, but Mother explained that it was only a medal he had over, and Father happened to be passing by the window.

“I don’t see what this has to do with it,” said Father. “I simply prefer bathing in the morning.”

“Oo, you said this morning you preferred bathing in the afternoon,” says Jenny like a flash.

“I know; but since then I’ve had time to think it over, and I see that I was hasty. The morning is the best time.”

“I’m afraid he is a coward,” said Mother sadly, wondering why she had married him.

“The whole point is, why did Jenny bring me here?”

“To enjoy yourself,” said Jenny promptly.

“Well, I am,” said Father, closing his eyes.

But we do not feel so sure that Mother is enjoying herself. She has just read in the paper about a mine that floated ashore and exploded. Nobody was near at the time, but supposing one of the children had been playing with it.

“Which one?” said Father lazily.


“Then we should have lost Jenny.”

This being so, Jenny promises solemnly not to play with any mine that comes ashore, nor to let Richard Henry play with it, nor to allow it to play with Richard Henry, nor–

“I suppose I may just point it out to him and say, ‘Look, that’s a mine’?” says Jenny wistfully. If she can’t do this, it doesn’t seem to be much use coming to the seaside at all.

“I don’t think there would be any harm in that,” says Father. “But don’t engage it in conversation.”

“Thank you very much,” says Jenny, and she and Richard Henry go off together.