"That galoot-boss ought to hev shoved his crew down to that jam
this mornin'," grumbled Old Kennebec to Alcestis Crambry, who was
always his most loyal and attentive listener. "But he wouldn't
take no advice, not if Pharaoh nor Boat nor Herod nor Nicodemus
come right out o' the Bible an' give it to him. The logs air
contrary to-day. Sometimes they'll go along as easy as an old
shoe, an' other times they'll do nothin' but bung, bung, bung!
There's a log nestlin' down in the middle o' that jam that I've
be'n watchin' for a week. It's a cur'ous one, to begin with; an'
then it has a mark on it that you can reco'nize it by. Did ye
ever hear tell o' George the Third, King of England, Alcestis, or
ain't he known over to the crambry medders? Well, once upon a
time men used to go through the forests over here an' slash a
mark on the trunks o' the biggest trees. That was the royal
sign, as you might say, an' meant that the tree was to be taken
over to England to make masts an' yard-arms for the King's ships.
What made me think of it now is that the King's mark was an
arrer, an' it's an arrer that's on that there log I'm showin' ye.
Well, sir, I seen it fust at Milliken's Mills a Monday. It was
in trouble then, an'it's be'n in trouble ever sence. That's
allers the way; there'll be one pesky, crooked, contrary,
consarn'ed log that can't go anywheres without gittin' into
difficulties. You can yank it out an' set it afloat, an' before
you hardly git your doggin' iron off of it, it'll be snarled up
agin in some new place. From the time it's chopped down to the
day it gets to Saco, it costs the Comp'ny 'bout ten times its
pesky valler as lumber. Now they've sent over to Benson's for a
team of horses, an' I bate ye they can't git'em. I wish I was
the boss on this river, Alcestis."
"I wish I was," echoed the boy.
"Well, your head-fillin' ain't the right kind for a boss,
Alcestis, an' you'd better stick to dry land. You set right down
here while I go back a piece an' git the pipe out o' my coat
pocket. I guess nothin' ain't goin' to happen for a few
The surmise about the horses, unlike most of Old Kennebec's,
proved to be true. Benson's pair had gone to Portland with a
load of hay; accordingly the tackle was brought, the rope was
adjusted to a log, and five of the drivers, standing on the
riverbank, attempted to drag it from its intrenched position. It
refused to yield the fraction of an inch. Rufus and Stephen
joined the five men, and the augmented crew of seven were putting
all their strength on the rope when a cry went up from the
watchers on the bridge. The "dog" had loosened suddenly, and the
men were flung violently to the ground. For a second they were
stunned both by the surprise and by the shock of the blow, but in
the same moment the cry of the crowd swelled louder.
Alcestis Crambry had stolen, all unoticed, to the rope and hadDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>