an artist at the sport himself, but he was especially proficient

in the art of strapping on a lady's skates, and mur'muring--as

he adjusted the last buckle,--"The prettiest foot and ankle on

the river!" It cannot be denied that this compliment gave secret

pleasure to the fair village maidens who received it, but it was

a pleasure accompanied by electric shocks of excitement. A

girl's foot might perhaps be mentioned, if a fellow were daring

enough, but the line was rigidly drawn at the ankle, which was

not a part of the human frame ever alluded to in the polite

society of Edgewood at that time.

Rose, in her red linsey-woolsey dress and her squirrel furs and

cap, was the life of every gathering, and when Stephen took her

hand and they glided up stream, alone together in the crowd, he

used to wish that they might skate on and on up the crystal

ice-path of the river, to the moon itself, whither it seemed to

lead them.


But the Saco all this time was meditating of its surprises. The

snapping cold weather and the depth to which the water was frozen

were aiding it in its preparation for the greatest event of the

season. On a certain gray Saturday in March, after a week of

mild temperature, it began to rain as if, after months of

snowing, it really enjoyed a new form of entertainment. Sunday

dawned with the very flood-gates of heaven opening, so it seemed.

All day long the river was rising under its miles of unbroken

ice, rising at the threatening rate of four inches an hour.

Edgewood went to bed as usual that night, for the bridge at that

point was set too high to be carried away by freshets, but at

other villages whose bridges were in less secure position there

was little sleep and much anxiety.

At midnight a cry was heard from the men watching at Milliken's

Mills. The great ice jam had parted from Rolfe's Island and was

swinging out into the open, pushing everything before it. All

the able-bodied men in the village turned out of bed, and with

lanterns in hand began to clear the stores and mills, for it

seemed that everything near the river banks must go before that

avalanche of ice.

Stephen and Rufus were there helping to save the property of

their friends and neighbors; Rose and Mite Shapley had stayed the

night with a friend, and all three girls were shivering with fear

and excitement as they stood near the bridge, watching the

never-to-be-forgtten sight. It is needless to say that the

Crambry family was on hand, for whatever instincts they may have

lacked, the instinct for being on the spot when anything was

happening, was present in them to the most remarkable extent.

The town was supporting them in modest winter quarters somewhat

nearer than Killick to the centre of civilization, and the first

alarm brought them promptly to the scene, Mrs. Crambry remarking

at intervals: "If I'd known there'd be so many out I'd ought to

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