The Silver Swans by Gallico Paul

The Silver Swans by Gallico Paul

Once a doctor, who works at the museum, was walking along the bank of the river Thames in Chelsea. Lots of creative people live in Chelsea and many of them prefer houseboats. They enjoy living on the water. It inspires them and they draw pictures. When the doctor was looking at the houseboats, he noticed a freshly painted small boat called Nerine. A young lady owned this boat. She stuck in the hole and couldn’t push back the cover because of the fresh paint. The doctor helped her get out on the deck. They became friends. The lady was quite unusual. She had a pseudonym “Thetis”. She lived together with two fishes and an octopus on the boat. Sometimes Thetis would sit near the aquarium and imagine that she lived on the bottom of the ocean. The girl sang a sad song to the doctor. Its title was “The Silver Swans”. In this song she asked how she could recognize a true love.

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The Silver Swans by Gallico Paul

‘I’ don’t think that I’ve ever been in love.’ She stopped for a minute and then she continued: ‘How will I know?’

My name is Doctor Horatio Fundoby. But I am not the kind of doctor who sees sick people. I am called a doctor because I have spent many, many years studying. I studied history, and I now have an important job at the British Museum in London.

The Silver Swans by Gallico Paul

Every Sunday afternoon I walk along a path in Chelsea, on the bank of the River Thames. A lot of painters live in Chelsea. People often think that I am a painter. I look like one and I dress like one. I have a white beard, I carry a black wooden stick, and I wear a large, old hat. The hat is more than forty years old, and I always wear it for my walks.

I enjoy my walks very much. There is a lot to see and hear. Boats pass on the river. Birds cry noisily above it.

Along this bank of the river there are some old houseboats. People buy these houseboats because they like living on the water. They enjoy watching the passing boats and listening to the sounds of a busy river. They paint the boats in bright colours.

One Sunday afternoon I was standing by the houseboats, looking across the river. In the deepest water in the middle of the Thames, I could see a beautiful, white sailing ship. It was called the Poseidon. The back of the ship was a little unusual. I knew that the owner of the ship was Lord Struve. He was a great scientist who studied ocean life. Near the Poseidon were a large ship from South America and a dirty Spanish boat.

Then I noticed one of the houseboats near the bank. It was called the Nerine and it was very colourful. The boat was grey, but parts of it were painted in bright colours. The door was blue and the large wooden cover in the floor of the front deck was bright red. There were some steps going from the boat to the bank of the river. These were painted blue, like the door.

I saw a young girl trying to push back the cover. She wanted to get out, and she was halfway out of the hole, but she had a problem. She saw me. She didn’t shout at me but her mouth formed the words: ‘I can’t open it!’

I hurried towards the Nerine. It was sitting on the bottom of the river and I had to walk down the blue wooden steps, over the water of the Thames.

I went carefully along the deck of the boat until I reached the girl…

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