attempted to use his feeble powers for the common good. When

then blow came he fell backward, and, making no effort to control

the situation, slid over the bank and into the water.

The other Crambrys, not realizing the danger, laughed, audibly,

but there was no jeering from the bridge.

Stephan had seen Alcestis slip, and in the fraction of a moment

had taken off his boots and was coasting down the slippery rocks

behind him in a twinkling he was in the water, almost as soon as

the boy himself.

"Doggoned idjut!" exclaimed Old Kennebec, tearfully. "Wuth the

hull fool family! If I hedn't 'a' be'n so old, I'd 'a' jumped

in myself, for you can't drownd a Wiley, not without you tie

nail-kegs to their head an' feet an' drop 'em in the falls."

Alcestis, who had neither brains, courage, nor experience, had,

better still, the luck that follows the witless. He was carried

swiftly down the current; but, only fifty feet away, a long,

slender, log, wedged between two low rocks on the shore, jutted

out over the water, almost touching its surface. The boy's

clothes were admirably adapted to the situation, being full of

enormous rents. In some way the end of the log caught in the

rags of Alcestis's coat and held him just seconds enough to

enable Stephen to swim to him, to seize him by the nape of the

neck, to lift him on the log, and thence to the shore. It was a

particularly bad place for a landing, and there was nothing to do

but to lower ropes and drag the drenched men to the high ground


Alcestis came to his senses in ten or fifteen minutes, and seemed

as bright as usual: with a kind of added swagger at being the

central figure in a dramatic situation.

"I wonder you hedn't stove your brains out, when you landed so

turrible suddent on that rock at the foot of the bank," said Mr.

Wiley to him. "I should, but I took good care to light on my

head," responded Alcestis; a cryptic remark which so puzzled Old

Kennebec that he mused over it for some hours.


Stephen had brought a change of clothes, as he had a habit of

being ducked once at least during the day; and since there was a

halt in the proceedings and no need of his services for an hour

or two, he found Rose and walked with her to a secluded spot

where they could watch the logs and not be seen by the people.

"You frightened everybody almost to death, jumping into the

river," chided Rose.

Stephen laughed. "They thought I was a fool to save a fool, I


"Perhaps not as bad as that, but it did seem reckless."

"I know; and the boy, no doubt, would be better off dead; but so

should I be, if I could have let him die."

Rose regarded this strange point of view for a moment, and then

silently acquiesced in it. She was constantly doing this, and

she often felt that her mental horizon broadened in the act; but

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