dust settle on the furniture that he and Rose had chosen together; and
whenever he locked the door and went back to the River Farm, he thought
of a verse in the Bible: "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from
the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."
It was now Friday of the last week in August. The river was full of
logs, thousands upon thousands of them covering the surface of the water
from the bridge almost up to the Brier Neighborhood.
The Edgewood drive was late, owing to a long drought and low water; but
it was to begin on the following Monday, and Lije Dennett and his under
boss were looking over the situation and planning the campaign. As they
leaned over the bridge-rail they saw Mr. Wiley driving down the river
road. When he caught sight of them he hitched the old white horse at the
corner and walked toward them, filling his pipe the while in his usual
"We're not busy this forenoon," said Lije Dennett. "S'pose we stand
right here and let Old Kennebec have his say out for once. We've never
heard the end of one of his stories, an' he's be'n talkin' for twenty
"All right," rejoined his companion, with a broad grin at the idea. "I'm
willin', if you are; but who's goin' to tell our fam'lies the reason
we've deserted 'em! I bate yer we sha'n't budge till the crack o' doom.
The road commissioner'll come along once a year and mend the bridge
under our feet, but Old Kennebec'll talk straight on till the day o'
Mr. Wiley had one of the most enjoyable mornings of his life, and felt
that after half a century of neglect his powers were at last appreciated
by his fellow-citizens.
He proposed numerous strategic movements to be made upon the logs,
whereby they would move more swiftly than usual. He described several
successful drives on the Kennebec, when the logs had melted down the
river almost by magic, owing to his generalship; and he paid a tribute,
in passing, to the docility of the boss, who on that occasion had never
moved a single log without asking his advice.
From this topic he proceeded genially to narrate the life-histories of
the boss, the under boss, and several Indians belonging to the
crew,--histories in which he himself played a gallant and conspicuous
part. The conversation then drifted naturally to the exploits of
river-drivers in general, and Mr. Wiley narrated the sorts of feats in
log-riding, pickpole-throwing, and the shooting of rapids that he had
done in his youth. These stories were such as had seldom been heard by
the ear of man; and, as they passed into circulation instantaneously, we
are probably enjoying some of them to this day.
They were still being told when a Crambry child appeared on the bridge,
bearing a note for the old man.
Upon reading it he moved off rapidly in the direction of the store,
"Bless my soul! I clean forgot that saleratus, and mother's settin' atDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>