and grim in rocky soil. If, in its present stage of development,

it gravitated toward anything in particular, it would have been a

well-dressed white birch growing on an irreproachable lawn.

And the river, now deep, now shallow, now smooth, now tumultuous,

now sparkling in sunshine, now gloomy under clouds, rolled on to

the engulfing sea. It could not stop to concern itself with the

petty comedies and tragedies that were being enacted along its

shores, else it would never have reached its destination. Only

last night, under a full moon, there had been pairs of lovers

leaning over the rails of all the bridges along its course; but

that was a common sight, like that of the ardent couples sitting

on its shady banks these summer days, looking only into each

other's eyes, but exclaiming about the beauty of the water.

Lovers would come and go, sometimes reappearing with successive

installments of loves in a way wholly mysterious to the river.

Meantime it had its own work to do and must be about it, for the

side jams were to be broken and the boom "let out" at the

Edgewood bridge.

OLD KENNEBEC

It was just seven o'clock that same morning when Rose Wiley

smoothed the last wrinkle from her dimity counterpane, picked up

a shred of corn-husk from the spotless floor under the bed,

slapped a mosquito on the window-sill, removed all signs of

murder with a moist towel, and before running down to breakfast

cast a frowning look at her pincushion. Almira, otherwise

"Mite," Shapley had been in her room the afternoon before and

disturbed with her careless hand the pattern of Rose's pins.

They were kept religiously in the form of a Maltese cross; and

if, while she was extricating one from her clothing, there had

been an alarm of fire, Rose would have stuck the pin in its

appointed place in the design, at the risk of losing her life.

Entering the kitchen with her light step, she brought the morning

sunshine with her. The old people had already engaged in

differences of opinion, but they commonly suspended open warfare

in her presence. There were the usual last things to be done for

breakfast, offices that belonged to her as her grandmother's

assistant. She took yesterday's soda biscuits out of the steamer

where they were warming and softening; brought an apple pie and a

plate of seed cakes from the pantry; settled the coffee with a

piece of dried fish skin and an egg shell; and transferred some

fried potatoes from the spider to a covered dish.

"Did you remember the meat, grandpa? We're all out," she said, as

she began buttoning a stiff collar around his reluctant neck.

"Remember? Land, yes! I wish't I ever could forgit anything!

The butcher says he's 'bout tired o' travelin' over the country

lookin' for critters to kill, but if he finds anything he'll be

up along in the course of a week. He ain't a real smart butcher,

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