there in a jiffy!" for the luncheon hour had flown, and the work of the
afternoon was waiting for them. "You make a chalk-mark where you left
off, Mr. Wiley, an' we'll hear the rest to-morrer; only don't you forgit
nothin'! Remember't was the Kennebec you was talkin' about."
"I will, indeed," responded the old man. "As I was sayin' when
interrupted, I may be a stranded log, but I'm proud that the mark o' the
Gard'ner Lumber Comp'ny is on me, so't when I git to my journey's end
they'll know where I belong and send me back to the Kennebec. Before I'm
sawed up I'd like to forgit this triflin' brook in the sight of a
good-sized river, an' rest my eyes on some full-grown logs, 'stead o'
these little damn pipestems you boys are playin' with!"
THE GAME OF JACKSTRAWS
There was a roar of laughter at the old man's boast, but in a moment all
was activity. The men ran hither and thither like ants, gathering their
tools. There were some old-fashioned pick-poles, straight, heavy levers
without any "dog," and there were modern pick-poles and peaveys, for
every river has its favorite equipment in these things. There was no
dynamite in those days to make the stubborn jams yield, and the dog-warp
was in general use. Horses or oxen, sometimes a line of men, stood on
the river-bank. A long rope was attached by means of a steel spike to
one log after another, and it was dragged from the tangled mass.
Sometimes, after unloading the top logs, those at the bottom would rise
and make the task easier; sometimes the work would go on for hours with
no perceptible progress, and Mr. Wiley would have opportunity to tell
the bystanders of a "turrible jam" on the Kennebec that had cost the
Lumber Company ten thousand dollars to break.
There would be great arguments on shore, among the villagers as well as
among the experts, as to the particular log which might be a key to the
position. The boss would study the problem from various standpoints, and
the drivers themselves would pass from heated discussion into long
"They're paid by the day," Old Kennebec would philosophize to the
doctor; "an' when they're consultin' they don't hev to be doggin', which
is a turrible sight harder work."
Rose had created a small sensation, on one occasion, by pointing out to
the under boss the key-log in a jam. She was past mistress of the
pretty game of jackstraws, much in vogue at that time. The delicate
little lengths of polished wood or bone were shaken together and emptied
on the table. Each jackstraw had one of its ends fashioned in the shape
of some sort of implement,--a rake, hoe, spade, fork, or mallet. All the
pieces were intertwined by the shaking process, and they lay as they
fell, in a hopeless tangle. The task consisted in taking a tiny
pick-pole, scarcely bigger than a match, and with the bit of curved wire
on the end lifting off the jackstraws one by one without stirring theDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>