itself, whither it seemed to lead them.


But the Saco all this time was meditating of its surprises. The snapping

cold weather and the depth to which the water was frozen were aiding it

in its preparation for the greatest event of the season. On a certain

gray Saturday in March, after a week of mild temperature, it began to

rain as if, after months of snowing, it really enjoyed a new form of

entertainment. Sunday dawned with the very flood-gates of heaven

opening, so it seemed. All day long the river was rising under its miles

of unbroken ice, rising at the threatening rate of four inches an hour.

Edgewood went to bed as usual that night, for the bridge at that point

was set too high to be carried away by freshets, but at other villages

whose bridges were in less secure position there was little sleep and

much anxiety.

At midnight a cry was heard from the men watching at Milliken's Mills.

The great ice jam had parted from Rolfe's Island and was swinging out

into the open, pushing everything before it. All the able-bodied men in

the village turned out of bed, and with lanterns in hand began to clear

the stores and mills, for it seemed that everything near the river banks

must go before that avalanche of ice.

Stephen and Rufus were there helping to save the property of their

friends and neighbors; Rose and Mite Shapley had stayed the night with a

friend, and all three girls were shivering with fear and excitement as

they stood near the bridge, watching the never-to-be-forgotten sight. It

is needless to say that the Crambry family was on hand, for whatever

instincts they may have lacked, the instinct for being on the spot when

anything was happening, was present in them to the most remarkable

extent. The town was supporting them in modest winter quarters somewhat

nearer than Killick to the centre of civilization, and the first alarm

brought them promptly to the scene, Mrs. Crambry remarking at intervals:

"If I'd known there'd be so many out I'd ought to have worn my bunnit;

but I ain't got no bunnit, an' if I had they say I ain't got no head to

wear it on!"

By the time the jam neared the falls it had grown with its

accumulations, until it was made up of tier after tier of huge ice

cakes, piled side by side and one upon another, with heaps of trees and

branches and drifting lumber holding them in place. Some of the blocks

stood erect and towered like icebergs, and these, glittering in the

lights of the twinkling lanterns, pushed solemnly forward, cracking,

crushing, and cutting everything in their way. When the great mass

neared the planing mill on the east shore the girls covered their eyes,

expecting to hear the crash of the falling building; but, impelled by

the force of some mysterious current, it shook itself ponderously, and

then, with one magnificent movement, slid up the river bank, tier

following tier in grand confusion. This left a water way for the main

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