this here silv'ry streamlet a river. He'd pick off a log here an' there

an' send it afloat, an' dig out them that hed got ketched in the rocks,

and tidy up the banks jest like spring house-cleanin'. If he'd hed any

kind of a boss, an' hed be'n trained on the Kennebec, he'd 'a' made a

turrible smart driver, Steve would."

"He'll be drownded, that's what'll become o' him," prophesied Mrs.

Wiley; "'specially if Rose encourages him in such silly foolishness as

ridin' logs from his house down to ourn, dark nights."

"Seein' as how Steve built ye a nice pig pen last month, 'pears to me

you might have a good word for him now an' then, mother," remarked Old

Kennebec, reaching for his second piece of pie.

"I wa'n't a mite deceived by that pig pen, no more'n I was by Jed

Towle's hen coop, nor Ivory Dunn's well-curb, nor Pitt Packard's

shed-steps. If you hed ever kep' up your buildin's yourself, Rose's

beaux wouldn't hev to do their courtin' with carpenters' tools."

"It's the pigpen an' the hencoop you want to keep your eye on, mother,

not the motives of them as made 'em. It's turrible onsettlin' to inspeck

folks' motives too turrible close."

"Riding a log is no more to Steve than riding a horse, so he says,"

interposed Rose, to change the subject; "but I tell him that a horse

doesn't revolve under you, and go sideways at the same time that it is

going forwards."

"Log-ridin' ain't no trick at all to a man of sperit," said Mr. Wiley.

"There's a few places in the Kennebec where the water's too shaller to

let the logs float, so we used to build a flume, an' the logs would whiz

down like arrers shot from a bow. The boys used to collect by the side

o' that there flume to see me ride a log down, an' I've watched 'em drop

in a dead faint when I spun by the crowd; but land! you can't drownd

some folks, not without you tie nail-kags to their head an' feet an'

drop 'em in the falls; I 've rid logs down the b'ilin'est rapids o' the

Kennebec an' never lost my head. I remember well the year o' the gre't

freshet, I rid a log from"--

"There, there, father, that'll do," said Mrs. Wiley, decisively. "I'll

put the cream in the churn, an' you jest work off some o' your steam by

bringin' the butter for us afore you start for the bridge. It don't do

no good to brag afore your own women-folks; work goes consid'able

better'n stories at every place 'cept the loafers' bench at the


And the baffled raconteur, who had never done a piece of work cheerfully

in his life, dragged himself reluctantly to the shed, where, before

long, one could hear him moving the dasher up and down sedately to his

favorite "churning tune" of--

Broad is the road that leads to death,

And thousands walk together there;

But Wisdom shows a narrow path,

With here and there a traveler.


Just where the bridge knits together the two little villages of Pleasant

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