River and Edgewood, the glassy mirror of the Saco broadens suddenly,

sweeping over the dam in a luminous torrent. Gushes of pure amber mark

the middle of the dam, with crystal and silver at the sides, and from

the seething vortex beneath the golden cascade the white spray dashes up

in fountains. In the crevices and hollows of the rocks the mad water

churns itself into snowy froth, while the foam-flecked torrent, deep,

strong, and troubled to its heart, sweeps majestically under the bridge,

then dashes between wooded shores piled high with steep masses of rock,

or torn and riven by great gorges.

There had been much rain during the summer, and the Saco was very high,

so on the third day of the Edgewood drive there was considerable

excitement at the bridge, and a goodly audience of villagers from both

sides of the river. There were some who never came, some who had no

fancy for the sight, some to whom it was an old story, some who were too

busy, but there were many to whom it was the event of events, a

never-ending source of interest.

Above the fall, covering the placid surface of the river, thousands of

logs lay quietly "in boom" until the "turning out" process, on the last

day of the drive, should release them and give them their chance of

display, their brief moment of notoriety, their opportunity of

interesting, amusing, exciting, and exasperating the onlookers by their


Heaps of logs had been cast up on the rocks below the dam, where they

lay in hopeless confusion, adding nothing, however, to the problem of

the moment, for they too bided their time. If they had possessed wisdom,

discretion, and caution, they might have slipped gracefully over the

falls and, steering clear of the hidden ledges (about which it would

seem they must have heard whispers from the old pine trees along the

river), have kept a straight course and reached their destination

without costing the Edgewood Lumber Company a small fortune. Or, if they

had inclined toward a jolly and adventurous career, they could have

joined one of the various jams or "bungs," stimulated by the thought

that any one of them might be a key-log, holding for a time the entire

mass in its despotic power. But they had been stranded early in the

game, and, after lying high and dry for weeks, would be picked off one

by one and sent down-stream.

In the tumultuous boil, the foaming hubbub and flurry at the foot of the

falls, one enormous peeled log wallowed up and down like a huge

rhinoceros, greatly pleasing the children by its clumsy cavortings. Some

conflict of opposing forces kept it ever in motion, yet never set it

free. Below the bridge were always the real battle-grounds, the scenes

of the first and the fiercest conflicts. A ragged ledge of rock,

standing well above the yeasty torrent, marked the middle of the river.

Stephen had been stranded there once, just at dusk, on a stormy

afternoon in spring. A jam had broken under the men, and Stephen, having

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