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 pickpole,

scarcely bigger than a match, and with the bit of curved wire on

the end lifting off the jackstraws one by one without stirring

the pile or making it tremble. When this occurred, you gave

place to your opponent, who relinquished his turn to you when ill

fortune descended upon him, the game, which was a kind of

river-driving and jam-picking in miniature, being decided by the

number of pieces captured and their value. No wonder that the

under boss asked Rose's advice as to the key-log. She had a

fairy's hand, and her cunning at deciding the pieces to be moved,

and her skill at extricating and lifting them from the heap, were

looked upon in Edgewood as little less than supernatural. It was

a favorite pastime; and although a man's hand is ill adapted to

it, being over-large and heavy; the game has obvious advantages

for a lover in bringing his head very close to that of his

beloved adversary. The jackstraws have to be watched with a

hawk's eagerness, since the "trembling" can be discerned only by

a keen eye; but there were moments when Stephen was willing to

risk the loss of a battle if he could watch Rose's drooping

eyelashes, the delicate down on her pink cheek, and the feathery

curls that broke away from her hair.

He was looking at her now from a distance, for she and Mite

Shapley were assisting Jed Towle to pile up the tin plates and

tie the tin dippers together. Next she peered into one of the

bean-pots, and seemed pleased that there was still something in

its depths; then she gathered the fragments neatly together in a

basket, and, followed by her friend, clambered down the banks to

a shady spot where the Boomshers, otherwise known as the Crambry

family, were "lined up" expectantly.

It is not difficult to find a single fool in any community,

however small; but a family of fools is fortunately somewhat

rarer. Every county, however, can boast of one fool-family, and

Itork County is always in the fashion, with fools as with

everything else. The unique, much-quoted, and undesirable

Boomshers could not be claimed as indigenous to the Saco valley,

for this branch was an offshoot of a still larger tribe

inhabiting a distant township. Its beginnings were shrouded in

mystery. There was a French-Canadian ancestor somewhere, and a

Gipsy or Indian grandmother. They had always intermarried from

time immemorial. When one of the selectmen of their native place

had been asked why the Boomshers always married cousins, and why

the habit was not discouraged, he replied that he really didn't

know; he s'posed they felt it would be kind of odd to go right

out and marry a stranger.

Lest "Boomsher" seem an unusual surname, it must be explained

that the actual name was French and could not be coped with by

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