The sailboat is loaded with supplies: food to last for weeks, cooking utensils, tents, a treasured copy of “Robinson Crusoe.” The crew barely fits between the rations. They raise the sail, the gentle north-westerly wind fills it, and the craft heads noiselessly out of the bay.
They act like intrepid sailors, though all four are children. The youngest is seven and cannot yet swim. They are headed for the far side of the lake, to make camp on an uninhabited island, where they will spend the summer.
The above scene from Arthur Ransome, and others like it, such as Mark Twain’s books or Winslow Homer’s art, depict childhood in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Do you notice anything missing? I don’t mean shoes