taken too great risks, had been caught on the moving mass, and, leaping

from log to log, his only chance for life had been to find a footing on

Gray Rock, which was nearer than the shore.

Rufus was ill at the time, and Mrs. Waterman so anxious and nervous that

processions of boys had to be sent up to the River Farm, giving the

frightened mother the latest bulletins of her son's welfare. Luckily,

the river was narrow just at the Gray Rock, and it was a quite possible

task, though no easy one, to lash two ladders together and make a narrow

bridge on which the drenched and shivering man could reach the shore.

There were loud cheers when Stephen ran lightly across the slender

pathway that led to safety--ran so fast that the ladders had scarce time

to bend beneath his weight. He had certainly "taken chances," but when

did he not do that? The logger's life is one of "moving accidents by

flood and field," and Stephen welcomed with wildqq exhilaration every

hazard that came in his path. To him there was never a dull hour from

the moment that the first notch was cut in the tree (for he sometimes

joined the boys in the lumber camp just for a frolic) till the later one

when the hewn log reached its final destination. He knew nothing of

"tooling" a four-in-hand through narrow lanes or crowded

thoroughfares,--nothing of guiding a horse over the hedges and through

the pitfalls of a stiff bit of hunting country; his steed was the

rearing, plunging, kicking log, and he rode it like a river god.


The crowd loves daring, and so it welcomed Stephen with braves, but it

knew, as he knew, that he was only doing his duty by the Company, only

showing the Saco that man was master, only keeping the old Waterman name

in good repute.

"Ye can't drownd some folks," Old Kennebec had said, as he stood in a

group on the shore; "not without you tie sand-bags to'em an' drop 'em in

the Great Eddy. I'm the same kind; I remember when I was stranded on

jest sech a rock in the Kennebec, only they left me there all night for

dead, an' I had to swim the rapids when it come daylight."

"We're well acquainted with that rock and them rapids," exclaimed one of

the river-drivers, to the delight of the company.

Rose had reason to remember Stephen's adventure, for he had clambered

up the bank, smiling and blushing under the hurrahs of the boys, and,

coming to the wagon where she sat waiting for her grandfather, had

seized a moment to whisper: "Did you care whether I came across safe,

Rose? Say you did!"

Stephen recalled that question, too, on this August morning; perhaps

because this was to be a red-letter day, and sometime, when he had a

free moment,--sometime before supper, when he and Rose were sitting

apart from the others, watching the logs,--he intended again to ask her

to marry him. This thought trembled in him, stirring the deeps of his

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