I think that my first ambition was to become an expert swimmer. My ideal was the gold-fish that cruised about in his glass-bounded sea. I have not quite realized that dream, but what success I have had I owe to a burly life-guard whose livid skin fascinated my youthful eye as did his great guffaws my ear. From him I extracted a promise that I should learn to swim in one lesson, and I did.
One does not have great height at the age of seven, and when this mountainous friend of mine carried me to water that crested his own freckled shoulders, the sea might just as well have had no bottom. But I trusted implicitly and thereby fulfilled the first requirement of successful teaching, viz., the confidence of the pupil. He held me at arm's length:
"Now sonny, take a big breath and don't wriggle so much as a toe."