Mansfield coveys Fenella's hopes and fears for the future through simple words and gestures, the kind we'd associate with small children. For instance, when her father embraces her grandmother as they bid each other farewell on the quayside, Fenella instinctively turns her back, swallowing twice as she frowns at a little green star on the mast head.
As Fenella says her own goodbye to her father, she whispers, "How long am I going to stay?" meaning how long is she going to stay with her grandparents. In case we didn't already know her state of mind, Mansfield tells us that Fenella whispers this question anxiously. The young girl is clearly far from thrilled at the prospect of being away from home for so long.
Just before he takes his leave, Fenella's father gives her a shilling, quite a decent amount of money to give to a child in those days. Far from being happy at this gift, Fenella is deeply disturbed; she interprets it as a sign that she must be going away forever.
But Fenella's hopes rise as the boat nears Picton and she can see a strip of dry land in the distance. Her reaction to this welcome sight is one of childlike wonder. She hugs herself and wonders whether things will soon start to change. Everything's been so sad recently, what with her mother's death, and so it's only natural that she should be hopeful about the future.