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


"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'


"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-kegs 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 womenfolks;

work goes consid'able better'n stories at every place 'cept the

loafers' bench at the tavern."

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

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