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´╗┐Title: Marco Paul's Voyages and Travels; Vermont
Author: Abbott, Jacob, 1803-1879
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Marco Paul's Voyages and Travels; Vermont" ***

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VERMONT***


MARCO PAUL'S VOYAGES & TRAVELS: VERMONT

by

JACOB ABBOTT

1852



Preface.


The design of the series of volumes, entitled MARCO PAUL'S ADVENTURES
IN THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE, is not merely to entertain the reader
with a narrative of juvenile adventures, but also to communicate, in
connection with them, as extensive and varied information as possible,
in respect to the geography, the scenery, the customs and the
institutions of this country, as they present themselves to the
observation of the little traveler, who makes his excursions under the
guidance of an intelligent and well-informed companion, qualified to
assist him in the acquisition of knowledge and in the formation of
character. The author has endeavored to enliven his narrative, and to
infuse into it elements of a salutary moral influence, by means of
personal incidents befalling the actors in the story. These incidents
are, of course, imaginary--but the reader may rely upon the strict
and exact truth and fidelity of all the descriptions of places,
institutions and scenes, which are brought before his mind in the
progress of the narrative. Thus, though the author hopes that the
readers who may honor these volumes with their perusal, will be amused
and interested by them, his design throughout will be to instruct
rather than to entertain.



Contents.

   I.  Journeying
  II.  Accidents
 III.  The Grass Country
  IV.  The Village
   V.  Studying
  VI.  The Log Canoe
 VII.  A Dilemma
VIII.  A Confession
  IX.  Boating
   X.  An Expedition
  XI.  Lost In The Woods



Engravings.

The Great Elm
The Hill
The Accident
Who Are You?
The Lumber Box
The Tire
The Risk
The Study
Marco's Desk
Boat Adrift
Cap Gone
The Millman's House
Paddling
Marco's Room
Toss
Bad Rowing
Good Rowing
The Portage
The Expedition
The Drag
The School House
The Ride



Order Of The Volumes.

Marco Paul,

  I.--In New York.
 II.--On the Erie Canal.
III.--In Maine.
 IV.--In Vermont.
  V.--In Boston.
 VI.--At the Springfield Armory.



Principal Persons

  MR. BARON, a merchant of New York.
  MARCO, his son, a boy about twelve years old.
  JOHN FORESTER, Marco's cousin, about nineteen years old.

Marco is traveling and studying under Forester's care.



Marco Paul in Vermont.



Chapter I.

Journeying.



When Mr. Baron, Marco's father, put Marco under his cousin Forester's
care, it was his intention that he should spend a considerable part
of his time in traveling, and in out-of-door exercises, such as might
tend to re-establish his health and strengthen his constitution.
He did not, however, intend to have him give up the study of books
altogether. Accordingly, at one time, for nearly three months, Marco
remained at Forester's home, among the Green Mountains of Vermont,
where he studied several hours every day.

It was in the early part of the autumn, that he and Forester went to
Vermont. They traveled in the stage-coach. Vermont lies upon one side
of the Connecticut river, and New Hampshire upon the other side. The
Green Mountains extend up and down, through the middle of Vermont,
from north to south, and beyond these mountains, on the western side
of the state, is lake Champlain, which extends from north to south
also, and forms the western boundary. Thus, the Green Mountains divide
the state into two great portions, one descending to the eastward,
toward Connecticut river, and the other to the westward, toward lake
Champlain. There are, therefore, two great ways of access to Vermont
from the states south of it; one up the Connecticut river on the
eastern side, and the other along the shores of lake George and lake
Champlain on the western side. There are roads across the Green
Mountains also, leading from the eastern portion of the state to the
western. All this can be seen by looking upon any map of Vermont.

Marco and Forester went up by the Connecticut river. The road lay
along upon the bank of the river, and the scenery was very pleasant.
They traveled in the stage-coach; for there were very few railroads in
those days.

The country was cultivated and fertile, and the prospect from the
windows of the coach was very fine. Sometimes wide meadows and
intervales extended along the river,--and at other places, high hills,
covered with trees, advanced close to the stream. They could see, too,
the farms, and villages, and green hills, across the river, on the New
Hampshire side.

On the second day of their journey, they turned off from the river by
a road which led into the interior of the country; for the village
where Forester's father resided was back among the mountains. They had
new companions in the coach too, on this second day, as well as a new
route; for the company which had been in the coach the day before were
to separate in the morning, to go off in different directions. Several
stage-coaches drove up to the door of the tavern in the morning, just
after breakfast, with the names of the places where they were going
to, upon their sides. One was marked, "Haverhill and Lancaster;"
another, "Middlebury;" and a third, "Concord and Boston;" and there
was one odd-looking vehicle, a sort of carryall, open in front, and
drawn by two horses, which had no name upon it, and so Marco could not
tell where it was going. As these several coaches and carriages drove
up to the door, the hostlers and drivers put on the baggage and bound
it down with great straps, and then handed in the passengers;--and
thus the coaches, one after another, drove away. The whole movement
formed a very busy scene, and Marco, standing upon the piazza in front
of the tavern, enjoyed it very much.

There was a very large elm-tree before the door, with steps to climb
up, and seats among the branches. Marco went up there and sat some
time, looking down upon the coaches as they wheeled round the tree, in
coming up to the door. Then he went down to the piazza again.

[Illustration: THE GREAT ELM]

There was a neatly-dressed young woman, with a little flower-pot in
her hand, standing near him, waiting for her turn. There was a small
orange-tree in her flower-pot. It was about six inches high. The sight
of this orange-tree interested Marco very much, for it reminded him
of home. He had often seen orange-trees growing in the parlors and
green-houses in New York.

"What a pretty little orange-tree!" said Marco. "Where did you get
it?"

"How did you know it was an orange-tree?" said the girl.

"O, I know an orange-tree well enough," replied Marco. "I have seen
them many a time."

"Where?" asked, the girl.

"In New York," said Marco. "Did your orange-tree come from New York?"

"No," said the girl. "I planted an orange-seed, and it grew from
that. I've got a lemon-tree, too," she added, "but it is a great deal
larger. The lemon-tree grows faster than the orange. My lemon-tree is
so large that I couldn't bring it home very well, so I left it in the
mill."

"In the mill?" said Marco. "Are you a miller?"

The girl laughed. She was a very good-humored girl, and did not appear
to be displeased, though it certainly was not quite proper for Marco
to speak in that manner to a stranger. She did not, however, reply to
his question, but said, after a pause,

"Do you know where the Montpelier stage is?"

The proper English meaning of the word _stage_ is a _portion of
the road_, traveled between one resting-place and another. But in
the United States it is used to mean the carriage,--being a sort of
contraction for _stage-coach_.

"No," said Marco, "_we_ are going in that stage."

"I wish it would come along," said the girl, "for I'm tired of
watching my trunk."

"Where is your trunk?" said Marco.

So the girl pointed out her trunk. It was upon the platform of the
piazza, near those belonging to Forester and Marco. The girl showed
Marco her name, which was Mary Williams, written on a card upon the
end of it.

"I'll watch your trunk," said Marco, "and you can go in and sit down
until the stage comes."

Mary thanked him and went in. She was not, however, quite sure that
her baggage was safe, intrusted thus to the charge of a strange boy,
and so she took a seat near the window, where she could keep an eye
upon it. There was a blue chest near these trunks, which looked like a
sailor's chest, and Marco, being tired of standing, sat down upon this
chest. He had, however, scarcely taken his seat, when he saw a coach
with four horses, coming round a corner. It was driven by a small boy
not larger than Marco. It wheeled up toward the door, and came to a
stand. Some men then put on the sailor's chest and the trunks. Mary
Williams came out and got into the coach. She sat on the back seat.
Forester and Marco got in, and took their places on the middle seat. A
young man, dressed like a sailor, took the front seat, at one corner
of the coach. These were all the passengers that were to get in here.
When every thing was ready, they drove away.

The stage stopped, however, in a few minutes at the door of a handsome
house in the town, and took a gentleman and lady in. These new
passengers took places on the back seat, with Mary Williams.

This company rode in perfect silence for some time. Forester took
out a book and began to read. The gentleman on the back seat went to
sleep. Mary Williams and Marco looked out at the windows, watching the
changing scenery. The sailor rode in silence; moving his lips now and
then, as if he were talking to himself, but taking no notice of any
of the company. The coach stopped at the villages which they
passed through, to exchange the mail, and sometimes to take in new
passengers. In the course of these changes Marco got his place shifted
to the forward seat by the side of the sailor, and he gradually got
into conversation with him. Marco introduced the conversation, by
asking the sailor if he knew how far it was to Montpelier.

"No," said the sailor, "I don't keep any reckoning, but I wish we were
there."

"Why?" asked Marco.

"O, I expect the old cart will capsize somewhere among these
mountains, and break our necks for us."

Marco had observed, all the morning, that when the coach canted to
one side or the other, on account of the unevenness of the road, the
sailor always started and looked anxious, as if afraid it was going to
be upset. He wondered that a man who had been apparently accustomed
to the terrible dangers of the seas, should be alarmed at the gentle
oscillations of a stage-coach.

"Are you afraid that we shall upset?" asked Marco.

"Yes," said the sailor, "over some of these precipices and mountains;
and then there'll be an end of us."

The sailor said this in an easy and careless manner, as if, after all,
he was not much concerned about the danger. Still, Marco was surprised
that he should fear it at all. He was not aware how much the fears
which people feel, are occasioned by the mere novelty of the danger
which they incur. A stage-driver, who is calm and composed on his box,
in a dark night, and upon dangerous roads, will be alarmed by the
careening of a ship under a gentle breeze at sea,--while the sailor
who laughs at a gale of wind on the ocean, is afraid to ride in a
carriage on land.

"An't you a sailor?" asked Marco.

"Yes," replied his companion.

"I shouldn't think that a man that had been used to the sea, would be
afraid of upsetting in a coach."

"I'm not a _man_" said the sailor.

"What are you?" said Marco.

"I'm a boy. I'm only nineteen years old; though I'm going to be rated
seaman next voyage."

"Have you just got back from a voyage?" asked Marco.

"Yes," said the sailor. "I've been round the Horn in a whaler, from
old Nantuck. And now I'm going home to see my mother."

"How long since you've seen her?" asked Marco.

"O, it's four years since I ran away."

Here the sailor began to speak in rather a lower tone than he had done
before, so that Marco only could hear. This was not difficult, as the
other passengers were at this time engaged in conversation.

"I ran away," continued the sailor, "and went to sea about four years
ago."

"What made you run away?" asked Marco.

"O, I didn't want to stay at home and be abused. My father used to
abuse me; but my mother took my part, and now I want to go and see
her."

"And to see your father too," said Marco.

"No," said the sailor. "I don't care for him. I hope he's gone off
somewhere. But I want to see my mother. I have got a shawl for her in
my chest."

Marco was shocked to hear a young man speak in such a manner of his
father. Still there was something in the frankness and openness of the
sailor's manner, which pleased him very much. He liked to hear his odd
and sailor-like language too, and he accordingly entered into a
long conversation with him. The sailor gave him an account of his
adventures on the voyage; how he was drawn off from the ship one day,
several miles, by a whale which they had harpooned;--how they caught
a shark, and hauled him in on deck by means of a pulley at the end of
the yard-arm;--and how, on the voyage home, the ship was driven before
an awful gale of wind for five days, under bare poles, with terrific
seas roaring after them all the way. These descriptions took a strong
hold of Marco's imagination. His eye brightened up, and he became
restless on his seat, and thought that he would give the world for a
chance to stand up in the bow of a boat, and put a harpoon into the
neck of a whale.

In the mean time, the day wore away, and the road led into a more and
more mountainous country. The hills were longer and steeper, and the
tracts of forest more frequent and solitary. The number of passengers
increased too, until the coach was pretty heavily loaded; and
sometimes all but the female passengers would get out and walk up the
hills. On these occasions Forester and Marco would generally walk
together, talking about the incidents of their journey, or the
occupations and amusements which they expected to engage in when they
arrived at Forester's home. About the middle of the afternoon the
coach stopped at the foot of a long winding ascent, steep and stony,
and several of the passengers got out. Forester, however, remained
in, as he was tired of walking, and so Marco and the sailor walked
together. The sailor, finding how much Marco was interested in his
stories, liked his company, and at length he asked Marco where he was
going. Marco told him.

"Ah, if you were only going on a voyage with me," said the sailor,
"that would make a man of you. I wouldn't go and be shut up with that
old prig, poring over books forever."

Marco was displeased to hear the sailor call his cousin an old
prig, and he felt some compunctions of conscience about forming and
continuing an intimacy with such a person. Still he was so much
interested in hearing him talk, that he continued to walk with him up
the hill. Finally, the sailor fairly proposed to him to run away and
go to sea with him.

"O no," said Marco, "I wouldn't do such a thing for the world.
Besides," said he, "they would be after us, and carry me back."

"No," said the sailor; "we would cut across the country, traveling in
the night and laying to by day, till we got to another stage route,
and then make a straight wake, till we got to New Bedford, and there
we could get a good voyage. Come," said he, "let's go to-night. I'll
turn right about. I don't care a great deal about seeing my mother."

Though Marco was a very bold and adventurous sort of a boy, still he
was not quite prepared for such a proposal as this. In the course of
the conversation the sailor used improper and violent language too,
which Marco did not like to hear; and, in fact, Marco began to be a
little afraid of his new acquaintance. He determined, as soon as he
got back to the coach to keep near Forester all the time, so as not to
be left alone again with the sailor. He tried to hasten on, so as to
overtake the coach, but the sailor told him not to walk so fast; and,
being unwilling to offend him, he was obliged to go slowly, and keep
with him; and thus protracted the conversation.

[Illustration: THE HILL.]

About half-way up the hill there was a small tavern, and the sailor
wanted Marco to go in with him and get a drink. Marco thought that he
meant a drink of water, but it was really a drink of spirits which
was intended. Marco, however, refused to go, saying that he was not
thirsty; and so they went on up the hill. At the top of the hill, the
stage-coach stopped for the pedestrians to come up. There was also
another passenger there to get in,--a woman, who came out from a
farm-house near by. The driver asked the sailor if he was not willing
to ride outside, in order to make room for the new passenger. But he
would not. He was afraid. He said he would not ride five miles outside
for a month's wages. Marco laughed at the sailor's fears, and he
immediately asked Forester to let _him_ ride outside. Forester
hesitated, but on looking up, and seeing that there was a secure seat,
with a good place to hold on, he consented. So Marco clambered up
and took his seat with the driver, while the other passengers
re-established themselves in the stage.



Chapter II.

Accidents.



Marco liked his seat upon the outside of the stage-coach very much. He
could see the whole country about him to great advantage. He was very
much interested in the scenery, not having been accustomed to travel
among forests and mountains. The driver was a rough young man,--for
the boy who drove the coach up to the door was not the regular driver.
He was not disposed to talk much, and his tone and manner, in what he
did say, did not indicate a very gentle disposition. Marco, however,
at last got a little acquainted with him, and finally proposed to the
driver to let _him_ drive.

"Nonsense," said he, in reply, "you are not big enough to drive such a
team as this."

"Why, there was a boy, no bigger than I, that drove the horses up to
the door when we started, this morning," replied Marco.

"O yes,--Jerry,"--said the driver,--"but he'll break his neck one of
these days."

"I didn't see but that he drove very well," said Marco.

The driver was silent.

"Come," persisted Marco, "let me drive a little way, and I'll do as
much for you some day."

"You little fool," said the driver, "you never can do any thing for
me. You are not big enough to be of any use at all."

Marco thought of the fable of the mouse and the lion, but since his
new companion was in such ill-humor, he thought he would say no more
to him. A resentful reply to the epithet "little fool," did in fact
rise to his lips, but he suppressed it and said nothing.

It was fortunate for Marco that he did so. For whenever any person has
said any thing harsh, unjust, or cruel, the most effectual reply is,
generally, silence. It leaves the offender to think of what he has
said, and conscience will often reprove him in silence, far more
effectually than words could do it. This was the case in this
instance. As they rode along in silence, the echo of the words "little
fool," and the tone in which he had uttered them, lingered upon the
driver's ear. He could not help thinking that he had been rather harsh
with his little passenger. Presently he said,

"I don't care though,--we are coming to a level piece of ground on
ahead here a little way, and then I'll see what you can make of
teaming."

Marco was quite pleased at this unexpected result, and after ten or
fifteen minutes, they came to the level piece of road, and the driver
put the reins into Marco's hand. Marco had sometimes driven two
horses, when riding out with his father in a barouche, up the
Bloomingdale road in New York. He was therefore not entirely
unaccustomed to the handling of reins; and he took them from the
driver's hand and imitated the manner of holding them which he had
observed the driver himself to adopt, quite dexterously.

The horses, in fact, needed very little guidance. They went along the
road very quietly of their own accord. Marco kept wishing that a
wagon or something else would come along, that he might have the
satisfaction of turning out. But nothing of the kind appeared, and he
was obliged to content himself with turning a little to one side,
to avoid a stone. At the end of the level piece of road there was a
tavern, where they were going to stop to change the horses, and Marco
asked the driver to let him turn the horses up to the door. The driver
consented, keeping a close watch all the time, ready to seize the
reins again at a moment's notice, if there had been any appearance of
difficulty. But there was none. Marco guided the horses right, and
drawing in the reins with all his strength, he brought them up
properly at the door; or rather, he seemed to do it,--for, in
reality, the horses probably acted as much of their own accord, being
accustomed to stop at this place, as from any control which Marco
exercised over them through the reins.

There was, however, an advantage in this evolution, for Marco became
accustomed to the feeling of the reins in his hand, and acquired a
sort of confidence in his power over the horses,--greater to be sure
than there was any just ground for, but which was turned to a very
important account, a few hours afterward, as will be seen in the
sequel.

The sailor went several times into the taverns on the way, in the
course of the afternoon, to drink, until, at length, he became
partially intoxicated. He felt, however, so much restrained in the
presence of the passengers within the coach, that he did not become
talkative and noisy, as is frequently the case in such circumstances;
but was rather stupid and sleepy. In fact, no one observed that any
change was taking place in his condition, until, at last, as he was
coming out from the door of a tavern, where he had been in to get
another drink, the driver said,

"Come, Jack, you must get up with me now, there is another passenger
to get in here."

Marco, who was still in his seat, holding the reins of the horses,
looked down, expecting that the sailor would make objections to this
proposal,--but he found, on the contrary, that Jack, as they called
him, acquiesced without making any difficulty, and allowed the driver
to help him up. The new passenger got inside. Forester felt somewhat
uneasy at having Marco ride any longer on the top, especially now that
the sailor was going up too. But the coach was full. He himself was
wedged into his seat, so that he could not get out easily. He knew,
too, that two or three of the passengers were going to get out at the
next stage, and so he concluded to let Marco remain outside until that
time, and then to take him in again.

Marco's admiration for the sailor was very much diminished when he
saw how helpless he had rendered himself by his excesses, and how
unceremoniously the driver pulled and hauled him about, in getting him
into his seat.

"There! hold on there," said the driver to him, in a stern
voice,--"hold on well, or you'll be down head foremost under the
horses' heels, at the first pitch we come to."

The poor sailor said nothing, but grasped an iron bar which passed
from the top of the coach down by the side of the seat, and held on as
well as he could.

They rode on in this manner for some miles, the head of the sailor
swinging back and forth, helplessly, as if he was nearly asleep.
Whenever Marco or the driver spoke to him, he either answered in a
thick and sleepy tone of voice, or he did not reply at all. Marco
watched him for a time, being continually afraid that he would fall
off. He could do nothing, however, to help him, for he himself was
sitting at one end of the seat while the sailor was upon the other,
the driver being between them. In the mean time the sun gradually went
down and the twilight came on, and as the shadows extended themselves
slowly over the landscape, Marco began to find riding outside less
pleasant than it had been before, and he thought that, on the whole,
he should be very glad when the time arrived for him to get into the
coach again, with his cousin.

At length they came to a bridge, covered with planks, which led across
a small stream. It was in rather a solitary place, with woods on each
side of the road. Beyond the bridge there was a level piece of road
for a short distance, and then a gentle ascent, with a farmhouse near
the top of it, on the right hand side of the road. At the end of the
bridge, between the planks and the ground beyond them, there was a
jolt, caused by the rotting away of a log which had been imbedded in
the ground at the beginning of the planking. As it was rather dark,
on account of the shade of the trees, the driver did not observe this
jolt, and he was just beginning to put his horses to the trot, as they
were leaving the bridge, when the forward wheels struck down heavily
into the hollow, giving the front of the coach a sudden pitch forward
and downward. Marco grasped the iron bar at his end of the seat, and
saved himself; and the driver, who was habitually on his guard, had
his feet so braced against the fender before him, that he would not
have fallen. But the poor sailor, entirely unprepared for the shock,
and perhaps unable to resist it if he had been prepared, pitched
forward, lost his hold, went over the fender, and was tumbling down,
as the driver had predicted, head foremost, under the horses' heels.
The driver seized hold of him with one hand, but finding this
insufficient dropped his reins and tried to grasp him with both. In
doing it, however, he lost his own balance and went over too. He, of
course, let go of the sailor, when he found that he was going himself.
The sailor fell heavily and helplessly between the pole and the side
of one of the horses, to the ground. The driver followed. He seized
the pole with one hand, but was too late to save himself entirely,
and thinking there was danger of being dragged, and finding that the
horses were springing forward in a fright, he let himself drop through
to the ground also. The coach passed over them in a moment, as the
horses cantered on.

All this passed in an instant, and Marco, before he had a moment's
time for reflection, found himself alone on his seat,--the driver run
over and perhaps killed, and the horses cantering away, with the reins
dangling about their heels. The first impulse, in such a case, would
be to scream aloud, in terror,--which would have only made the horses
run the faster. But Marco was not very easily frightened; at least,
he was not easily made crazy by fright. So he did not scream; and not
knowing what else to do, he sat still and did nothing.

[Illustration: THE ACCIDENT.]

In the mean time, the passengers inside knew nothing of all this. Many
of them had been asleep when they came over the bridge. The jolt had
aroused them a little, but there was nothing to indicate to them
the accident which had occurred forward, so they quietly adjusted
themselves in their seats, and endeavored to compose themselves to
sleep again.

The horses were well trained and gentle. They cantered on as far as
the level ground extended, and then they slackened their pace as
they began to rise the ascent. The idea then occurred to Marco, that
perhaps he might clamber down over the fender to the pole, and then
walk along upon that a little way till he could gather up the reins.
Then he thought that if he could get back again with them to the
driver's seat, perhaps he could stop the horses. Marco was an expert
climber. He had learned this art in his gymnasium at New York; so that
he had no fears in respect to his being able to get down and back
again. The only danger was, lest he might frighten the horses again
and set them to running anew.

After a moment's reflection, he concluded that at any rate he would
try it; so he cautiously stepped over the fender and clambered down.
When his feet reached the pole, he rested them a moment upon it, and
clung with his hands to the fender and other parts of the front of the
coach. He found his position here more unstable than he had expected;
for the coach being upon springs, the forward part rose and fell with
many jerks and surges, as the horses traveled swiftly along, while the
pole was held in its position straight and firm. Thus the different
parts of his body were connected with different systems of motion,
which made his position very uncomfortable.

He found, however, after a moment's pause, that he could stand, and
probably walk upon the pole; so he advanced cautiously, putting his
hands on the backs of the horses, and walking along on the pole
between them. The horses were somewhat disturbed by the strange
sensations which they experienced, and began to canter again; but
Marco, who felt more and more confidence every moment, pushed boldly
on, gathered up the reins, and got all the ends together. Then taking
the ends of the reins in one hand, he crept back, supporting himself
by taking hold of the harness of one of the horses with the other
hand. By this means he regained the coach, and then, though with some
difficulty, he clambered up to his seat again.

He then endeavored to stop the horses by gathering the reins together,
and pulling upon them with all his strength; but it was in vain. The
horses had by this time reached a part of the road where it was more
level, and they began to press forward at a more rapid pace. Marco
thought of calling to Forester to get out of the window and climb
along the side of the coach to the box, in order to help him; but just
at that moment he saw that they were coming up opposite to the farm
house, which had been in sight, at a distance, when they were crossing
the bridge. So he thought that though he could not stop the horses, he
might perhaps have strength enough to turn them off from the road into
the farmer's yard; and that then they could be more easily stopped. In
this he succeeded. By pulling the off rein of the leaders with all his
strength, he was able to turn them out of the road. The pole horses
followed as a matter of course,--the coach came up with a graceful
sweep to the farmer's door, and then the horses were easily stopped.
The farmer came at once to the door, to see what strange company had
come to visit him in the stage,--his wife following; while several
children crowded to the windows.

"What's here?" said a voice from the window of the coach,--"a
post-office?" They thought the stage had been driven up to the door of
some post-office.

Marco did not answer; in fact he was bewildered and confounded at the
strangeness of his situation. He looked back over the top of the coach
down the road to see what had become of the driver. To his great joy,
he saw him running up behind the coach,--his hat crushed out of shape,
and his clothes dusty. The passengers looked out at the windows of the
stage, exclaiming,

"Why, driver! what's the matter?"

The driver made no reply. He began to brush his clothes,--and, taking
off his hat, he attempted to round it out into shape again.

"What _is_ the matter, driver?" said the passengers.

"Nothing," replied he, "only that drunkard of a sailor tumbled off the
stage."

"Where?" "When?" exclaimed half a dozen voices. "Is he killed?"

"Killed? no," replied the driver; "I don't believe he is even
sobered."

Forester and another gentleman then urgently asked where he was, and
the driver told them that he was "back there a piece," as he expressed
it.

"What! lying in the road?" said Forester; "open the door, and let us
go and see to him."

"No," said the driver; "he has got off to the side of the road, safe.
I don't believe he's hurt any. Let him take care of himself, and we'll
drive on."

But Forester remonstrated strongly against leaving the poor sailor in
such a condition, and in such a place; and finally it was agreed that
the farmer should go down the road and see to him, so as to allow the
stage-coach with the passengers to go on.

Forester was not willing, however, to have Marco ride outside any
longer; and so they contrived to make room for him within. As Marco
descended from his high seat, the driver said to him, as he passed
him, in a low voice,

"How did you get the reins? I thought they all came down with me,
under the horses' heels."

"Yes," said Marco, "they did, and I climbed down upon the pole and got
them."

"Well," said the driver, "you're a smart boy. But don't tell them
inside that I tumbled off. Tell them I gave you the reins, and jumped
down to see the sailor."

After receiving this charge, Marco would have been under a strong
temptation to tell a falsehood, if the company in the coach had asked
him any questions about it. But they did not. They were so much
occupied in expressing their astonishment that the sailor did not
break his neck, that they asked very few questions, and after riding a
short time, they relapsed into silence again. The fact that both
the driver and the sailor escaped being seriously hurt, was not so
wonderful as it might seem. Horses have generally an instinctive
caution about not stepping upon any thing under their feet. If a
little child were lying asleep in the middle of a road, and a horse
were to come galloping along without any rider, the mother, who
should see the sight from the window of the house, would doubtless be
exceedingly terrified; but in all probability the horse would pass the
child without doing it any injury. He would leap over it, or go around
it, as he would if it were a stone. This is one reason why, in so many
cases, persons are run over without being hurt. The driver and the
sailor, however, fell rather behind the horses' heels, and escaped
them in that way, and they came down so exactly into the middle of the
road, that they were out of the way of the track of the wheels, and
thus they escaped serious injury.

The misfortunes of the evening, however, did not end here. The road
was rather rough, and there were many ruts and joltings; and one or
two of the passengers seemed to feel some fear lest the stage should
upset. One, who sat near the door, put his arm out at the window over
the door, so as to get his hand upon the handle of the catch, in
order, as he said, to be ready to open the door and spring out, at a
moment's warning. The gentleman on the back seat advised him not to do
it.

"If you have your arm out," said he, "the coach may fall over upon
it, and break it. That's the way people get hurt by the upsetting of
coaches, by thrusting out their legs and arms in all directions, when
they find they are going over, and thus get them broken. You ought to
fold your arms and draw in your feet, and when you find that we are
going over, go in an easy attitude, with all the muscles relaxed, as
if your body was a bag of corn."

The passenger laughed and took his arm in; and all the other
passengers, seeing that the advice of the gentleman was reasonable,
concluded to follow it if they should have occasion. And they did have
occasion sooner than they had expected. For, just after dark, as they
were going down a long hill at a pretty rapid rate, with a wagon a
short distance before them, one of the horses of the wagon stumbled
and fell, which brought the wagon to a sudden stand just before the
coach. The driver perceived in an instant that there was not time to
stop his horses, and that the only chance was to turn out of the road
and drive by. The ground at the road-side was so much inclined, that
he was almost afraid to venture this expedient, but he had no time for
thought. He wheeled his horses out,--just escaped the hind wheel of
the wagon--ran along by the road-side a short distance, with the
wheels on one side, down very near the gutter,--and then, just as he
was coming back safely into the road again, the forward wheel nearest
the middle of the road, struck a small stone, and threw the coach
over. The top rested upon the bank, and the horses were suddenly
stopped. Sometimes, on such occasions, the _transom_ bolt, as it
is called, that is, the bolt by which the forward wheels are fastened
to the carriage, comes out, and the horses run off with the wheels. It
did not come out in this case, however. The man who had put his arm
out of the window, immediately called out, in great alarm, "Hold the
horses! Hold the horses! Don't let the horses run and drag us." But
this vociferation was needless. A coach full of passengers and baggage
is a full load for four horses, when it is mounted on wheels. It would
require an exertion far beyond their strength to drag it when on its
side. The horses remained quiet, therefore, while the wagoner and the
driver, who was not hurt, opened the door in the upper side of the
coach. The passengers then climbed out, one by one, without injury.
Mary Williams came out last, with her orange-tree safe in her hand.



Chapter III.

The Grass Country.



The scene of confusion, produced by the double accident described in
the last chapter, was great, but not long continued. The wagoner got
his fallen horse up, and then the passengers, with the driver and
wagoner, all taking hold together, soon righted the stage. None of the
passengers were hurt, but the coach itself was so much injured that
the driver thought it was not safe to load it heavily again. The
female passengers got in, but the men walked along by the side of it,
intending to travel in that way about four miles to the next
tavern. Forester, however, was not inclined to take so long a walk.
Fortunately, at a small distance before them, was a farmhouse which
looked as if it belonged to a large and thrifty farmer. The great
barns and sheds, the neat yards, the well-built walls and fences,
and the large stock of cattle in the barn-yard, indicated wealth and
prosperity. Forester concluded to apply here for a lodging for the
night, for himself and Marco. The farmer was very willing to receive
them. So the driver took off their trunks, and then the stage-coach,
with the rest of the passengers, went on.

"How long shall we have to stay here?" asked Marco.

"Only till to-morrow," said Forester. "Another stage will come along
to-morrow. We can stop just as well as not, as we are in no haste to
get home. Besides, I should like to have you see something of the
operations of a great grass farm."

Marco and Forester went into the house, and were ushered into a large
room, which seemed to be both sitting-room and kitchen. A large round
table was set in the middle of the floor, for supper. A monstrous dog
was lying under it, with his chin resting upon his paws. There was a
great settle in one corner, by the side of the fire. There were chairs
also, with straight backs and seats of basket-work, a spinning-wheel,
an open cupboard, and various other similar objects, which, being
so different from the articles of furniture which Marco had been
accustomed to see in the New York parlors, attracted his attention
very strongly. Marco went and took his seat upon the settle, and the
dog rose and came to him. The dog gazed into his face with an earnest
look of inquiry, which plainly said, "Who are you?" while Marco patted
him on the head, thereby answering as plainly, "A friend." The dog,
perfectly understanding the answer, seemed satisfied, and, turning
away, went back to his place again under the table.

[Illustration: WHO ARE YOU?]

One of the farmer's young men carried the trunks into a little
bed-room, which opened from the great room; and then the farmer sat
down and began to enter into conversation with Forester and Marco
about their accident. Forester told him also about the sailor, who
had tumbled off the coach a mile or two back, and been left behind.
Forester said that he should like to know whether he was hurt much.
Then the farmer said that he would let him take a horse and wagon the
next morning and ride back and inquire. This plan was therefore agreed
upon. Marco and Forester ate a good supper with the farmer's family,
and then spent the evening in talking, and telling stories about
horses, and sagacious dogs, and about catching wild animals in the
woods with traps. About nine o'clock the family all assembled for
evening prayers. After prayers Marco and Forester went to bed in their
little bed-room, where they slept soundly till morning.

In the morning they were both awakened by the crowing of the cocks, at
an early hour. They also heard movements in the house and in the
yard before sunrise; so they arose and dressed themselves, and after
attending to their morning devotions together in their room, a duty
which Forester never omitted, they went out. Marco was very much
interested in the morning occupations of the farm. There was the
milking of the cows, and the feeding of the various animals, and the
pitching off a load of corn, which had been got in the evening before
and allowed to stand on the cart, on the barn-floor, over night. The
cows were then to be driven to pasture, and the boy who went with
them, took a bridle to catch a horse for Forester and Marco to have
for their ride. Forester and Marco went with him. It was only a short
walk to the pasture bars, but they had to ramble about a little while,
before they found the horses. At last they found them feeding together
at the edge of a grove of trees. There were two or three horses, and
several long-tailed colts. The boy caught one of the horses, which he
called Nero. Nero was a white horse. Marco mounted him and rode down,
with the other horses and the colts following him. They put the horse
in the stable until after breakfast, and then harnessed him into the
wagon. When all was ready, the farmer told them to bring the sailor
along with them to his house, if they found that he was hurt so that
he could not travel.

When they were seated in the wagon, and had fairly commenced
their ride, Marco asked Forester, what he meant last evening by a
_grass_ farm. "You told me," said he, "that you wanted me to see
a great grass farm."

"Yes," replied Forester. "The farms in this part of the United States
may be called grass farms. This is the grass country."

"Isn't it all grass country?" asked Marco. "Grass grows everywhere."

"Grass is not _cultivated_ everywhere so much as it is among
the mountains, in the northern states," replied Forester. "The great
articles of cultivation in the United States are grass, grain, and
cotton. The grass is cultivated in the northern states, the grain in
the middle states, and the cotton in the southern states. The grass
is food for beasts, the grain is food for man, and the cotton is
for clothing. These different kinds of cultivation are not indeed
exclusive in the different districts. Some grass is raised in the
middle and southern states, and some grain is raised in the northern
states; but, in general, the great agricultural production of the
northern states is grass, and these farms among the mountains in
Vermont are grass farms.

"There is one striking difference," continued Forester, "between the
grass farms of the north, and the grain farms of the middle states, or
the cotton plantations of the south. The grass cultivation brings with
it a vast variety of occupations and processes on the farm, making
the farm a little world by itself; whereas the grain and the cotton
cultivation are far more simple, and require much less judgment and
skill. This is rather remarkable; for one would think that raising
food for beasts would require less skill than raising food or clothes
for man."

"I should have thought so," said Marco.

"The reason for the difference is," replied Forester, "that in raising
food for animals, it is necessary to keep the animals to eat it, on
the spot, for it will not bear transportation."

"Why not?" said Marco.

"Because it is so cheap," replied Forester.

"I don't think that is any reason," replied Marco.

"A load of grass"--said Forester.

"A load of grass!" repeated Marco, laughing.

"Yes, dried grass, that is, hay. Hay, you know, is grass dried to
preserve it."

"Very well," said Marco; "go on."

"A load of grass, then, is so cheap, that the cost of hauling it fifty
miles would be more than it is worth. But cotton is worth a great deal
more, in proportion to its bulk. It can therefore be transported to
distant places to be sold and manufactured. Thus the enormous quantity
of cotton which grows every summer in the southern states, is packed
in bags, very tight, and is hauled to the rivers and creeks, and there
it is put into steamboats and sent to the great seaports, and at the
seaports it is put into ships, which carry it to England or to the
northern states, to be manufactured; and it is so valuable, that it
will bring a price sufficient to pay all the persons that have been
employed in raising it, or in transporting it. But the grass that
grows in the northern countries can not be transported. The mills for
manufacturing cotton may be in one country, and the cotton be raised
in another, and then, after the cotton is gathered, it may be packed
and sent thousands of miles to be manufactured. But the sheep and oxen
which are to eat the hay, can not be kept in one country, while the
grass which they feed upon grows in another. The animals must live, in
general, on the very farm which the grass grows upon. Thus, while the
cotton cultivator has nothing to do but to raise his cotton and send
it to market, the grass cultivator must not only raise his grass, but
he must provide for and take care of all the animals which are to
eat it. This makes the agriculture of the northern states a far more
complicated business, because the care of animals runs into great
detail, and requires great skill, and sound judgment, and the exercise
of constant discretion.

"You observe," continued Forester, "that it is by the intervention of
animals that the farmer gets the product of his land into such a shape
that it will bear transportation. For instance, he feeds out his hay
to his sheep, attending them with care and skill all the winter. In
the spring he shears off their fleeces; and now he has got something
which he _can_ send to market. He has turned his grass into wool,
and thus got its value into a much more compact form. The wool will
bear transportation. Perhaps he gave a whole load of hay to his sheep,
to produce a single bag of wool. So the bag of wool is worth as much
as the load of hay, and is very much more easily carried to market. He
can put it upon his lumber-box, and drive off fifty miles with it, to
market, without any difficulty."

"His lumber-box?" asked Marco. "What is that?"

"Didn't you ever see a lumber-box?" asked Forester. "It is a square
box, on runners, like those of a sleigh. The farmers have them to haul
their produce to market."

"Why do they call it a lumber-box?" asked Marco.

[Illustration: THE LUMBER-BOX.]

"Why, when the country was first settled, they used to carry lumber to
market principally; that is, bundles of shingles and clapboards, which
they made from timber cut in the woods. It requires some time for a
new farm, made in the forests, to get into a condition to produce
much grass for cattle. I suppose that it was in this way that these
vehicles got the name of lumber-boxes. You will see a great many
of them, in the winter season, coming down from every part of the
country, toward the large towns on the rivers, filled with produce."

"What else do the farmers turn their grass into, besides wool?" asked
Marco.

"Into beef," said Forester. "They raise cows and oxen. They let them
eat the grass as it grows, all summer, and in the winter they feed
them with what they have cut and dried and stored in the barn for
them. The farmers are all ambitious to cut as much hay as they can,
and to keep a large stock of cattle. Thus they turn the grass into
beef, and the beef can be easily transported. In fact, it almost
transports itself."

"How do you mean?" asked Marco.

"Why, the oxen and cows, when they are fat and ready for market, walk
off in droves to Boston, to be killed. They don't kill them where they
are raised, for then they would have to haul away the beef in wagons
or sleighs, but make the animals walk to market themselves, and kill
them there. But the farmers don't generally take their own cattle to
market. Men go about the country, and call upon the farmers, and buy
their cattle, and thus collect great droves. These men are called
drovers. In traveling in this part of the country, late in the fall,
you would see great droves of cattle and sheep, passing along the
road, all going to Boston, or rather Brighton."

"Where is Brighton?" asked Marco.

"It is a town very near Boston, where the great cattle market is held.
The Boston dealers come out to Brighton, and buy the cattle, and have
them slaughtered, and the beef packed and sent away all over the
world. Thus the farmers turn the grass into beef, and in that shape it
can be transported and sold."

"And what else?" asked Marco.

"Why, they raise a great many horses in Vermont," replied Forester.
"These horses live upon grass, eating it as it grows in the pastures
and on the mountains, in the summer, and being fed upon hay in the
barn in the winter. These horses, when they are four or five years
old, are sent away to market to be sold. They can be transported very
easily. A man will ride one, and lead four or five by his side. They
will be worth perhaps seventy-five dollars apiece; so that one man
will easily take along with him, three or four hundred dollars' worth
of the produce of the farm, in the shape of horses; whereas the hay
which had been consumed on the farm to make these horses, it would
have taken forty yoke of oxen to move."

"Forty yoke!" repeated Marco.

"I don't mean to be exact," said Forester. "I mean it would take a
great many. So that, by feeding his hay out to horses, the farmer
gets his produce into a better state to be transported to market. The
Vermont horses go all over the land. Thus you see that the farmers
in the grass country have to turn the vegetable products which they
raise, into animal products, before they can get them to market; and
as the rearing of animals is a work which requires a great deal of
attention, care, patience, and skill, the cultivators must be men of a
higher class than those which are employed in raising cotton, or even
than those who raise grain. The animals must be watched and guarded
while they are young. There are a great many different diseases, and
accidents, and injuries which they are exposed to, and it requires
constant watchfulness, and considerable, intelligence, to guard
against them. This makes a great difference in the character which is
required in the laborers, in the different cases. A cotton plantation
in the south can be cultivated by slaves. A grain farm in the middle
states can be worked by hired laborers; but a northern grass farm,
with all its oxen, cows, sheep, poultry, and horses, can only be
successfully managed by the work of the owner."

"Is that the reason why they have slaves at the south?" asked Marco.

"It is a reason why slaves can be profitable at the south. In
cultivating cotton or sugar, a vast proportion of all the work done
in the year is the same. Almost the whole consists of a few simple
processes, such as planting, hoeing, picking cotton, &c., and this is
to be performed on smooth, even land, where set tasks can be easily
assigned. But the work on a grass farm is endlessly varied. It would
not be possible to divide it into set tasks. And then it is of such a
nature, that it could not possibly be performed successfully by the
mere labor of the hands. The _mind_ must be employed upon it. For
instance, even in getting in hay, in the summer season, the farmer has
to exercise all his judgment and discretion to avoid getting it wet by
the summer showers, and yet to secure it in good time, and with proper
dispatch. A cotton planter may hire an overseer to see to the getting
in of his cotton, and he can easily tell by the result, whether he
has been faithful or not. But hay can not be got in well, without the
activity, and energy, and good judgment, which can come only from the
presence and immediate supervision of an owner. This produces vast
differences in the nature of the business, and in the whole state of
society in the two regions."

"What are the differences?" asked Marco.

"Why, in the first place," said Forester, "the fact that cotton and
sugar can be cultivated by hired overseers, with slaves to do the
work, enables rich men to carry on great plantations without laboring
themselves. But a great grass farm could not be managed so. A man may
have one thousand acres for his plantation at the south, and with a
good overseer and good hands, it will all go on very well, so far as
his profit is concerned. They will produce a great amount of cotton,
which may be sent to market and sold, and the planter realize the
money, so as to make a large profit after paying all his expenses. But
if a man were to buy a thousand acres of grass land, and employ an
overseer and slaves to cultivate it, every thing would go to ruin. The
hay would get wet and spoiled,--the carts, wagons, and complicated
tools necessary, would get broken to pieces,--the lambs would be
neglected and die, and the property would soon go to destruction.
Even when a rich man attempts to carry on a moderate farm by hired
laborers, taking the best that he can find, he seldom succeeds."

"Does he _ever_ succeed?" said Marco.

"Yes," replied Forester, "sometimes. There is Mr. Warner, who lives
near my father's; he was brought up on a farm, and is practically
acquainted with all the work. He has been very successful, and has
a very large farm. He works now very little himself, but he watches
every thing with the greatest care, and he succeeds very well. He has
a great stock. He cuts fifty tons of hay."

"I should like to see his farm," said Marco.

"We'll go some day," replied Forester.

"So you see," continued Forester, "that the work of a cotton or sugar
plantation, is comparatively simple and plain, requiring little
judgment or mental exertion, and a great deal of plain straightforward
bodily labor; while on a northern stock farm the labors are endlessly
varied. Every month, every week, and almost every day brings some
change. New emergencies are constantly arising, which call for
deliberation and judgment. It is necessary to have a great variety of
animals, in order to consume all the different productions of the farm
to advantage. I can explain it all to you better, when you come to see
Mr. Warner's farm."

As Nero traveled very fast, they began by this time to draw near to
the place where they had left the sailor. When they came up to the
house, they fastened the horse to a post, and went in. The man who
lived there had gone away, but the woman said that the sailor was
somewhat hurt, and asked them to come in and see him. They found him
in the kitchen, with his foot up in a chair. He seemed to be in some
pain. There was a great bruise on his ankle, made by the cork of one
of the horses' shoes. These _corks_, as they are called, are
projections, made of steel, at the heel of a horse-shoe, to give the
horse a firm footing. They are made quite sharp in the winter season,
when there is ice and snow upon the ground, but they are generally
more blunt in the summer. This prevented the ankle's being cut as
badly as it would have been, if the corks had been sharper. Forester
looked at the ankle, and found that nothing had been done for it. It
was inflamed and painful. He got the woman to give him a basin of warm
water, and then he bathed it very carefully, which relieved the sense
of tension and pain. Then he made an ointment of equal parts of tallow
and oil, which he put upon the end of a bandage, and thus bound it
up. This treatment relieved the poor sailor very much. Then Forester
proposed to the sailor to get into the wagon and go with him to the
next house, and the sailor consented. Forester was then going to pay
the woman for his night's lodging, but the sailor said at once,--"No,
squire, not at all. I'm much obliged to you for doing up my foot, but
you need not pay any thing for me. I've got plenty of shot in the
locker."

So saying, he put his hand in his pocket and drew out a handful of
gold and silver pieces. But the woman, who began now to feel a little
ashamed that she had not done something for the wounded foot, said he
was welcome to his lodging; and so they all got into the wagon, and
Nero carried them rapidly back to his master's.



Chapter IV.

The Village.



In due time, and without any farther adventure, Forester and Marco
arrived at the end of their journey. The village where Forester's
father lived was situated in a gorge of the mountains, or rather at
the entrance of a valley, which terminated at last in a gorge. There
was a river flowing through this valley, and the village was upon its
banks. At the upper end of the village a branch stream came in from
the north, and there was a dam upon it, with some mills. The river
itself was a rapid stream, flowing over a sandy and gravelly bottom,
and there were broad intervals on each side of it, extending for some
distance toward the higher land. Beyond these intervals, the land rose
gradually, and in an undulating manner, to the foot of the mountains,
which extended along the sides of the valley, and from the summits of
which, one might look down upon the whole scene, with the village in
the center of it as upon a map.

Marco was very much pleased with the situation, and with the
appearance of the village. The street was broad, and it was shaded
with rows of large maples and elms on each side. The houses were
generally white, with green blinds. Most of them had pleasant yards
before them and at their sides; these yards were planted with trees
and shrubbery. There were also gardens behind. The mountains which
surrounded the scene, gave a very secluded and sheltered appearance to
the valley.

The house in which Forester lived was the largest in the village. It
was a square house of two stories. It stood back a little from the
road, in the middle of a large yard, ornamented with rows of trees
along the sides, and groups of shrubbery in the corners and near the
house. There were gravel walks leading in different directions through
this yard, and on one side of the house was a carriage-way, which led
from a great gate in front, to a door in one end of the house, and
thence to the stable in the rear. On the other side of the house, near
the street, was the office,--for Forester's father was a lawyer. The
office was a small square building, with the lawyer's name over the
door. There was a back door to the office, and a footpath, winding
among trees and shrubbery, which led from the office to the house.

The morning after they arrived, Forester took Marco out to see the
village. He intended not only to show him the various objects of
interest which were to be seen, but also to explain to him why it was
that such villages would spring up in a farming country, and what were
the occupations of the inhabitants.

"The first thing which causes the commencement of a village in New
England," said Forester, "is a water-fall."

"Why is that?" asked Marco.

"There are certain things," replied Forester, "which the farmers can
not very well do for themselves, by their own strength, particularly
grinding their corn, and sawing logs into boards for their houses.
When they first begin to settle in a new country, they make the houses
of logs, and they have to take the corn and grain a great many miles
on horseback, through paths in the woods, or, in the winter, on
hand-sleds, to get it ground. But as soon as any of them are able to
do it, they build a dam on some stream in the neighborhood, where
there is a fall in the water, and thus get a water power. This water
power they employ, to turn a saw-mill and a grist-mill. Then all the
farmers, when they want to build houses or barns, haul logs to the
mill to get them sawed into boards, and they carry their grain to the
grist-mill and get it ground. They pay the owner of the mills for
doing this work for them. And thus, if there are a great many farms in
the country around, and no other mills very near, so that the mills
are kept all the time at work, the owner gets a great deal of pay, and
gradually acquires property.

"Now, as soon as the mills are built, perhaps a blacksmith sets up a
shop near them. If a blacksmith is going to open a shop anywhere
in that town, it will be better for him to have it near the mills,
because, as the farmers all have to come to the mills at any rate,
they can avail themselves of the opportunity, to get their horses
shod, or to get new tires to their wheels, when they are broken."

"Tires?" repeated Marco. "What are tires?"

"They are the iron rims around wheels. Every wheel must have an iron
band about it, very tight, to strengthen it and to hold it firmly
together. Without a tire, a wheel would very soon come to pieces, in
rattling over a stony road.

"Besides," continued Forester, "there is a great deal of other iron
work, which the farmers must have done. Farmers can, generally, do
most of the wood work which they want themselves. They can make their
rakes, and drags, and cart-bodies, and sleds, and tool handles; but
when they want iron work, they must go to the blacksmith's. They can
make a harrow-frame, but the blacksmith must make the teeth."

"Now I should think," said Marco, "that it would be easier to make the
teeth than the frame."

"Perhaps it is as easy, if one has the forge and tools," replied
Forester; "but the tools and fixtures, necessary for blacksmith's
work, are much more expensive than those required for ordinary wood
work. There must be a forge built on purpose, and an anvil, supported
on a solid foundation, and various tools. All these are necessary for
shoeing a single horse, and when they are all procured, they will
answer for all the horses of the neighborhood. Thus it happens, that
though farmers do a great deal of their wood work themselves, at their
own farms, in cold and stormy weather, they generally have their iron
work done at a blacksmith's at some central place, where it is easy
and convenient for all of them to go."

The above conversation took place between Marco and Forester, as they
were walking along together through the village, toward the part of
the town where the mills were situated. Just at this moment, Marco
happened to cast his eyes across the street a short distance before
them, and he saw a fire on the ground in a little yard. He asked
Forester what that fire could be. As soon as Forester saw the fire, he
exclaimed,

"Ah! they are putting a tire upon a wheel; that's quite fortunate;
we'll go across and see them."

So they left the path under the trees where they had been walking, and
went obliquely across the street toward the fire. Marco saw that
there was a large blacksmith's shop there. It was a very neat-looking
building, painted red. There was a large door in the front, and a very
low window, with a shutter hanging over it, by the side of the door.
In an open yard, by the side of the shop, was the fire. The fire was
in the form of a ring. There were several men standing about it; one
of them, whom Marco supposed was the blacksmith, by his leather apron,
was putting on small sticks of wood and chips, here and there, around
the ring. Marco saw that there was a large iron hoop, as he called it,
on the fire. It was not really a hoop, it was a _tire_. It was
made of a much larger and thicker bar of iron, than those which are
used for hoops. It was a tire belonging to a wheel. The wheel was
lying upon the ground near, ready to receive the tire. It was the hind
wheel of a wagon. The wagon itself was standing in front of the shop,
with one end of the hind axletree supported by a block.

"What do they heat the tire for?" asked Marco.

"To swell it," replied Forester. "It is necessary to have the tire go
on very tight, so as to hold the wheel together with all the force of
the iron. Now when iron is heated it swells, and then shrinks again
when it cools. So they heat the tire hot, and put it upon the wheel in
that state. Then when it cools it shrinks, and binds the whole wheel
together with a very strong grip."

"But if they put it on hot, it will burn the wood," said Marco.

"Yes," replied Forester, "it will burn the wood a little. They can not
help that entirely; but they stand ready with water, to pour on, as
soon as the tire is in its place, and so cool it immediately, so that
it does not burn the fellies enough to injure them."

"What are the fellies?" asked Marco.

"They are the parts of the wooden rim of the wheel. The rim is made of
several pieces of wood, which are called fellies."

So Forester took Marco to the wheel, and showed him the parts of
which the rim was composed. While Marco was looking at the wheel, the
blacksmith began to push away the burning brands a little from the
tire, as it began to be hot enough. Presently he went into his shop
and brought out several pairs of tongs. With these the men lifted the
tire out of the fire, but the blacksmith said it was a little too hot,
and he must let it cool a minute or two.

"Why, if it's very hot," said Marco, "it will grip the wheel all the
harder."

"It will grip it _too_ hard," said Forester. "Sometimes a tire
shrinks so much as to spring the spokes out of shape. Didn't you ever
see a wheel with the spokes bent out of shape?"

"I don't know," said Marco. "I never noticed wheels much."

"They do get bent, sometimes," said Forester. "It requires great care
to put on a tire in such a manner, as to give it just the right degree
of force to bind the wheel strongly together, without straining it."

[Illustration: THE TIRE.]

As soon as the tire became of the right temperature, the men took it
up again with the pairs of tongs--taking hold with them at different
sides of it--and then they put it down carefully over the wheel. The
wheel immediately began to smoke on all sides. In one or two places
it burst into a flame. The blacksmith, however, paid no attention to
this, but with a hammer, which he held in his hand, he knocked it down
into its place, all around the rim; then he took up a brown pitcher
full of water, which was standing near, and began to pour the
water on, walking round and round the wheel as he did it, so as to
extinguish the flames in every part and cool the iron. When this
process was completed, Forester and Marco walked on.

"Let me see," said Forester, "where did I leave off, Marco, in my
account of the growth of a village? I was telling you about the
blacksmith's shop, I believe."

"Yes," said Marco.

"The next thing to the blacksmith's shop, in the history of a New
England village," said Forester, "is generally a store. You see the
farmers can not raise every thing they want. There are a great many
things which come from foreign countries, which they have to buy."

"Such as sugar and tea," said Marco.

"Yes," replied Forester, "only they make a great deal of sugar in
Vermont out of the sap of the maple-tree. We will go and see Mr.
Warner's sugar bush next spring. But there are a great many things
which the farmers must buy. One of the most important articles is
iron. Now when a man concludes to open a store, the best place that he
can have for his business is near the mills and the blacksmith's shop;
because the people have to come there on other business, and so that
is the most convenient place for them to visit his store. And so, by
and by, when a carpenter and a mason come into the country, the little
village which has thus begun to form itself, is the best place for
them to settle in, for that is the place where people can most
conveniently call and see them. After a while a physician comes and
settles there, to heal them when they are sick, and a lawyer to
prevent disputes."

"To _prevent_ disputes!" said Marco. Marco had not much idea of
the nature of a lawyer's business, but he had a sort of undefined and
vague notion, that lawyers _made_ disputes among men, and lived
by them.

"Why, I know," said Forester, laughing, "that lawyers have not the
credit, generally, of preventing many disputes, but I believe they do.
Perhaps it is because I am going to be a lawyer myself. But I really
believe that lawyers prevent ten disputes, where they occasion one."

"How do they do it?" asked Marco.

"Why, they make contracts, and draw up writings, and teach men to be
clear and distinct in their engagements and bargains. Then besides,
when men will not pay their debts, they compel them to do it, by legal
process. And there are a vast many debts which are paid, for fear of
this legal process, which would not have been paid without it. Thus,
knowing that the lawyers are always ready to apply the laws, men are
much more careful not to break them, than they otherwise would be. So
that it is no doubt vastly for the benefit of a community, not only to
have efficient laws, but efficient lawyers to aid in the execution of
them."

By this time, Forester and Marco had reached the part of the village
where the mills were situated. Forester showed Marco the dam. It was
supported by ledges of rocks on each bank, and there was a flume,
which conducted the water to the wheels of the mills. There were two
mills and a machine-shop. They went into the machine-shop. There was
a lathe here carried by water. A man was at work at it, turning hoe
handles. Forester asked him what other articles were turned there; and
he said posts for bedsteads, and rounds for chairs, and such other
things as were used in quantities in that part of the country.
Forester asked him whether the lathe would turn brass and iron as well
as wood; but he said it would not. It was not fitted for that work.

"I suppose you might have a lathe here, to work in the metals," said
Forester.

"Yes," replied the man, "but it would not be worth while. There is
very little of that kind of work wanted in this part of the country."

After looking at the mills, Forester and Marco walked along up the
stream a little way, to look at the mill-pond. Whenever a dam is
made, it causes a pond to be formed above it, more or less extensive,
according to the nature of the ground. In this case there was quite a
large pond, formed by the accumulation of the water above the dam.
The pond was not very wide, but it extended more than a mile up the
stream. The banks were picturesque and beautiful, being overhung with
trees in some places, and in others presenting verdant slopes, down to
the water's edge.

"That's a good pond to go a-fishing in," said Marco.

"Yes," said Forester, "and it makes fine skating ground in the
winter."

Marco and Forester followed the banks of the mill-pond, until they
came to the end of the still water; beyond that they saw a rapid
running stream, coming down from the mountains. Marco wished to follow
this stream up farther, to see what they would come to, and Forester
consented. The ground ascended more and more the farther they
proceeded, and the view began to be shut in by forests, precipices and
mountains. Marco liked clambering over the rocks, and he found a
great deal to interest him at every step of the way. He saw several
squirrels and one rabbit. He wanted Forester to get him a gun and let
him come out into those woods a-gunning.

"No," said Forester.

"Why not?" asked Marco.

"That is dangerous amusement."

"Why? Do you think I should get killed with my sun?" asked Marco.

"No," replied Forester, "I don't think you would; but you _might_
get killed. The risk would be too great for the benefit."

"Why, you told me the other day, that it was a great thing to learn to
take risks coolly. If I had a gun I could practice and learn."

"Yes," said Forester, "it is well to take risks coolly, when the
advantage is sufficient to justify it. For instance, when you crept
down upon the pole the other day, to get the reins, you took a great
risk, but perhaps you saved the lives of the passengers by it. That
was right--but to hazard your life, for the sake of the pleasure of
shooting a squirrel, is not wise." Marco had before this time told him
about his getting the reins.

"I shouldn't think, there was much danger," said Marco.

"No," said Forester, "there's very little danger. In using a gun, you
put yourself in a very little danger of a very great calamity. There's
very little probability that your gun would burst, or that you would
ever shoot accidentally any other person;--very little indeed. But if
the gun were to burst, and blow off one of your arms, or put out your
eyes, or if you were to shoot another boy, the calamity would be a
very terrible one. So we call it a great risk."

"It seems to be a small risk of a great calamity," said Marco.

"Yes," replied Forester, "but we call it a great risk. We call the
risk great, when either the evil which we are in danger of is great,
or when the chance of its befalling us is great. For example, if you
and I were to walk over that log which lies across the stream, we
should run a great risk; but that would be, not a small chance of a
great evil, but a great chance of a small evil. There would be a great
chance that we should fall off into the stream; but that would not be
much of an evil as we should only get ourselves wet."

[Illustration: The Risk]

"Let us go and try it," said Marco. "Not I," said Forester. "You may,
however, if you please. I am willing to have you take such a risk as
_that_, for your amusement."

Marco went to the log and walked back and forth across it, as
composedly as if it were a broad plank, lying upon the ground.
Finally, he hopped across it on one foot, to show Forester his
dexterity. Forester was surprised. He did not know how much skill in
such feats Marco had acquired by his gymnastics in New York.

After this, Forester and Marco clambered up some rocks on an elevated
summit, where they had a fine view of the village below them. They
could trace the river, winding through the valley, with the green
intervals on both sides of it. They could see the village and the
streets, with the spire of the meeting-house in the center. The
mill-pond was in full view also; and Marco's attention was attracted
by a boat, which he saw gliding over the surface of the water.

"O! there is a boat," said Marco.

"Yes," said Forester. "I have paddled over the water many a time in
her."

"How many oars does she pull?" asked Marco.

"Oars?" said Forester, "no oars; they use paddles."

"I wish they had some oars," said Marco, "and then I would get a crew
of boys, and teach them to manage a boat man-o'-war fashion."

"How do you know any thing about it?" asked Forester.

"O, I learned at New York, in the boats at the Battery."

"Well," said Forester, "we'll have some oars made, and get a crew. I
should like to learn myself."

"Let us go down and see the boat," said Marco, "now."

"No," replied Forester, "it is time to go to dinner now; but we'll
come and see the boat the next time we go to take a walk."

So Marco and Forester came down the hill, and thence went across the
fields home to dinner. They dined at half-past twelve o'clock, which
seemed a very strange hour to Marco.



Chapter V.

Studying.



The little building where Forester's father had his office, had a
small back room in it, which opened from the office proper, and which
was used as a library and private study. It had a small fire place
in it, and there was a table in the middle of the room, with a large
portable writing-desk upon it. This desk was made of rosewood. The
sides of the room were lined with book-shelves. There was one large
window which looked upon the yard and garden behind. The books in
this room were principally law-books, though there were some books of
history and travels, and great dictionaries of various kinds. Forester
conducted Marco into this room, a day or two after their arrival in
the village, saying,

"Here, Marco, this is to be our study. How do you like it?"

"Very well," said Marco. "It is a very pleasant room. Am I to study
all these books?"

"Not more than one at a time, at any rate," said Forester.

"_This_ is my place, I suppose," said Marco; and so saying he sat
down in a great arm-chair, before the portable writing-desk, which was
open on the table.

[Illustration: THE STUDY.]

"No," said Forester, "that is _my_ place. I am going to arrange
your establishment near the window. James has gone to bring your desk
now."

While he was speaking, the door opened, and James, the young man who
lived at Forester's father's came in, bringing a desk. It was painted
blue, and had four legs. These legs were of such a length as to make
the desk just high enough for Marco. James put it down, at Forester's
direction, near the window. It was placed with the left side toward
the window, so that the light from the window would strike across the
desk from left to right. This is the most convenient direction for
receiving light when one is writing. Forester then placed a chair
before the desk, and Marco went into the house and brought out all the
books and papers which he had, and arranged them neatly in his desk.
While he was gone, Forester took an inkstand and a sand-box out of a
closet by the side of the fire, and filled them both, and put them on
the desk. He also placed in the desk a supply of paper, in quarter
sheets. After Marco had come back, and had put in his books and
papers, Forester gave him a ruler and a lead pencil; also a slate and
half a dozen slate pencils; also a piece of sponge and a piece of
India-rubber. He gave him besides a little square phial, and sent him
to fill it with water, so that he might have water always at hand to
wet his sponge with.

"Now is that all you will want?" asked Forester.

"Why, yes, I should think so," said Marco. "If I should want any thing
else, I can ask you, you know. You are going to stay here and study
too?"

"Yes," said Forester; "but your asking me is just what I wish to
avoid. I wish to arrange it so that we shall both have our time to
ourselves, without interruption."

"But I shall have to ask you questions when I get into difficulty,"
said Marco.

"No," said Forester, "I hope not. I mean to contrive it so that you
can get out of difficulty yourself. Let me see. You will want some
pens. I will get a bunch of quills and make them up into pens for
you."

"What, a whole bunch?" said Marco.

"Yes," replied Forester. "I don't wish to have you come to me, when I
am in the midst of a law argument, to get me to make a pen."

Steel pens were very little used in those days.

While Forester was making the pens, he said,

"There are twenty-five quills in a bunch. I shall tie them up, when
they are ready, into two bunches, of about a dozen in each. These you
will put in your desk. When you want a pen, you will draw one out of
the bunches and use it. You must not stop to look them over, to choose
a good one, but you must take any one that comes first to hand,
because, if any one should not be good, the sooner you get it out and
try it, and ascertain that it is not good, the sooner you will get it
out of the way."

"Well," said Marco, "and what shall I do with the bad ones?"

"Wipe them clean,--by the way, you must have a good penwiper,--and
then put them together in a particular place in your desk. When you
have thus used one bunch, tie them up and lay the bunch on my desk to
be mended, and then you can go on using the other bunch. This will
give me opportunity to choose a convenient time to mend the first
bunch again. When I have mended them, I will tie them up and lay them
on your desk again. Thus you will always have a supply of pens, and I
shall never be interrupted to mend one. This will be a great deal more
convenient, both for you and for me."

"Only it will use up a great many more pens," replied Marco.

"No," said Forester; "not at all. We shall have more in use at one
time, it is true, but the whole bunch may last as long as if we had
only one cut at a time."

"We shall begin to study," continued Forester, "at nine o'clock, and
leave off at twelve. That will give you half an hour to run about and
play before dinner."

"And a recess?" said Marco,--"I ought to have a recess."

"Why, there's a difficulty about a recess," said Forester. "I shall
have it on my mind every day, to tell you when it is time for the
recess, and when it is time to come in."

"O no," replied Marco, "I can find out when it is time for the recess.
Let it be always at ten o'clock, and I can look at the watch."

Marco referred to a watch belonging to Forester's father, which was
kept hung up over the mantel-piece in their little study.

"I think it probable you would find out when it was time for the
recess to _begin_," said Forester, "but you would not be so
careful about the end of it. You would get engaged in play, and would
forget how the time was passing, and I should have to go out and call
you in."

"Couldn't you have a little bell?" said Marco.

"But I don't wish to have any thing of that kind to do," said
Forester, "I am going to instruct you half an hour every morning,
beginning at nine o'clock, and I want to have it all so arranged, that
after that, I shall be left entirely to myself, so that I can go
on with my studies, as well as you with yours. If we can do this
successfully, then, when noon comes, I shall feel that I have done my
morning's work well, and you and I can go off in the afternoon on all
sorts of expeditions. But if I have to spend the whole morning in
attending to you, then I must stay at home and attend to my own
studies in the afternoon."

"Well," said Marco, "I think I can find out when to come in."

"We'll try it one or two mornings, but I have no idea that you will
succeed. However, we can give up the plan if we find that you stay
out too long. You may have five minutes' recess every day, at eleven
o'clock. On the whole it shall be _ten_ minutes. And this shall
be the plan of your studies for the morning. At nine o'clock, I shall
give you instruction for half an hour. Then you may study arithmetic
for one hour; then write half an hour; then have a recess for ten
minutes: then read for the rest of the last hour. That will bring it
to twelve o'clock."

"But I can't study arithmetic, alone," said Marco.

"Yes," said Forester, "I shall show you how, in the first half-hour
when I am giving you my instructions. Now, are you willing really to
try to carry this system into effect, pleasantly and prosperously?"

"Yes," said Marco, "I'll try."

"We shall find some inconveniences and troubles at first, I have no
doubt," said Forester; "but if we are patient and persevering, we
shall soon make the system go smoothly."

Forester then said, that as Marco might forget what he had to do each
hour, he would make a sort of map of the hours, with the name of
the study which he was to pursue marked in each. This he called a
schedule. The schedule, when it was completed, was as follows:

IX.                    X.                    XI.             XII.
 | Instruction. | Arithmetic. | Writing. | Recess. | Reading. |

This schedule was drawn neatly on a piece of paper, and fastened with
wafers to the under side of the lid of Marco's desk, so that he could
look at it at any time, by opening his desk.

It was in the afternoon that this conversation was held, and these
preparations made. The next morning, at nine o'clock, Marco and
Forester went into the little study, and Forester gave him his
instructions. He took his arithmetic, and explained to him how to
perform some examples, under one of the rules. Forester performed one
or two of them himself, explaining very particularly all the steps.
He then rubbed out his work, and directed Marco to perform them by
himself in the same manner. "If you succeed in doing these right,"
said he, "you may set yourself some others of the same kind, with
different numbers, and perform those too. If you get into any
difficulty, you must not ask me, but you may set yourself sums in
addition, and spend the rest of the hour in doing them. That, you can
certainly do without help."

"Yes," said Marco, "I can do that."

"The next half-hour is for writing," said Forester. "I will set you
some copies."

So Forester took a writing-book, which he had prepared, and wrote
Marco some copies, one on the top of each page. Marco looked over
him while he wrote. It is very important that a child should see his
teacher write his copies, for thus he will see how the letters should
be formed. Forester wrote four or five copies for Marco, and while he
was writing them he gave him particular instructions about the manner
of holding his pen, and shaping the letters.

"Now," said Forester, "you can not possibly have occasion to come to
me about your writing; for here are pages enough for you to write upon
for several days, and you have plenty of pens."

"But I should think you would want to see whether I write it well,"
said Marco.

"I shall examine it carefully to-morrow morning," said Forester.

"Very well," said Marco; "after the writing will come the recess."

"Yes," said Forester, "and then the reading."

"What shall I read?" asked Marco.

Forester then rose and went to one of the book-shelves, where there
was a set of books, entitled the American Encyclopedia. There were
thirteen octavo volumes in the set. It was rather too high for Marco
to reach it, and so Forester took all the volumes down and placed them
on a lower shelf, not far from the window, in a place where Marco
could get easy access to them.

"There," said Forester; "there is your library. The American
Encyclopedia is a sort of a dictionary. When your reading hour comes,
you may take down any volume of this Encyclopedia, and turn to any
article you please. Or you may think of any subject that you would
like to read about, as for instance, _boat, cannon, camel, eagle,
trout, horse_, or any other subject, and take down the proper
volume and find the article. You can find it by the letters which are
printed on the backs of the volumes."

"Let us look now," said Marco, "and see what it says about trouts."

"No, not now," replied Forester; "when your reading hour comes, you
may read what you choose. Only you must have a piece of paper at hand,
and write upon it the title of every article which you read, and show
it to me the next morning, because I shall wish to know what you have
been reading, and perhaps to question you about it. Now you understand
your work, do you not?"

"Yes," said Marco; "and what are you going to do?"

"O, I'm going to study my law-books."

"Shall you stay here and study?"

"Yes," replied Forester, "I shall be here most of the time. Sometimes
I shall be called into the other room, perhaps, on business with my
lather; but that need not make any difference with you."

"Only, then there will be nobody to watch me," said Marco.

"O, I shall not watch you any, even when I am here. I shall pay no
attention to you at all. I can judge to-morrow morning, when I come to
look at your work and give you new instructions, whether you have been
industrious or not.

"Even if I accidentally see you doing any thing wrong, I shall not
probably say any thing about it. I shall remember it, and speak to you
about it to-morrow morning, in my half-hour. I shall do everything in
my half-hour."

Marco felt somewhat relieved, to think that he was not going to be
under a very rigid observation in his studies.

"I do not expect," said Forester, "that you will do very well for the
first few days. It will take some time to get this system under full
operation. I presume that you will come to me as many as ten times the
first day."

"O, no," said Marco, "I don't mean to come to you once."

"You will,--I have no doubt. What shall I say to you if you do? Will
it be a good plan for me to answer your question?"

"Why, no," said Marco, "I suppose not."

"And yet, if I refuse to answer, it will not be very pleasant to you.
It will put you out of humor."

"No," said Marco.

"I will have one invariable answer to give you," said Forester. "It
shall be this,--Act according to your own judgment. That will be a
little more civil than to take no notice of your question at all,
and yet it will preserve our principle,--that I am to give you no
assistance except in my half-hour. Then, besides, I will keep an
account of the number of questions you ask me, and see if they do not
amount to ten."

By this time Forester's half-hour was out, and Marco went to his desk.

"There's one thing," said Marco, "before I begin:--may I have the
window open?"

"Act according to your own judgment," said Forester, "and there is one
question asked." So Forester made one mark upon a paper which he had
upon the table.

"But, cousin Forester, it is not right to count that, for I had not
begun."

Forester made no reply, but began arranging his note-books, as if he
was about commencing his own studies. Marco looked at him a moment,
and then he rose and gently opened the window and began his work.

[Illustration: MARCO'S DESK.]

Marco was but little accustomed to solitary study, and, after
performing one of the examples which Forester had given him, he
thought he was tired, and he began to look out the window and to play
with his pencil. He would lay his pencil upon the upper side of
his slate, and let it roll down. As the pencil was not round, but
polygonal in its form, it made a curious clicking sound in rolling
down, which amused Marco, though it disturbed and troubled Forester.
Whatever may have been the nice peculiarities in the delicate
mechanism of Forester's ear, and of the nerves connected with it,
compared with that of Marco's, by which the same sound produced a
sensation of pleasure in one ear, while it gave only pain in the
other, it would require a very profound philosopher to explain. But
the effect was certain. Forester, however, did not speak, but let
Marco roll his pencil down the slate as long as he pleased.

This was not long, however; Marco soon grew tired of it, and then
began to look out the window. There was a little staple in the window
sill, placed there as a means of fastening the blind. Marco pushed the
point of his pencil into this staple, in order to see if it would go
through. It did go through in an instant, and slipping through his
fingers, it fell out of the window.

"Dear me! there goes my pencil. My pencil has dropped out of the
window, cousin Forester; shall I go out and get it?"

"Act according to your own judgment," said Forester. At the same time
he was saying this, he made another mark upon his paper.

"Why, you ought not to count that, cousin Forester," said Marco, "for
I don't know whether you'd wish me to go and get that pencil, or take
another out of my desk."

"Act according to your own judgment," replied Forester.

Marco looked perplexed and troubled. In fact, he was a little
displeased to find that Forester would not answer him. He thought
that, it was an unforeseen emergency, which Forester ought to have
considered an exception to his rule. But he was obliged to decide the
question for himself, and he concluded to go out for his pencil. It
took him some time to find it in the grass, and after he had found it,
he stopped for some time longer, to watch some ants which were passing
in and out, at the entrance to their nest, each one bringing up a
grain of sand in his forceps. When Marco came in, he found that his
hour for arithmetic was so nearly expired, that he should not have
time to finish another sum, if he should begin it; so he put his
arithmetical apparatus away, and took out his writing-book.

Marco went through the whole forenoon pretty much in the same way. He
spent a large part of his time in looking out of the window and about
the room. He went out at the time for the recess, but he stayed out
twenty minutes instead of ten. He was astonished, when he came in, to
see how rapidly the time had passed. He then took down a volume of the
Encyclopedia, and read until twelve o'clock, and then, leaving the
volume of the Encyclopedia and his writing-book on his desk, he told
Forester that the study hours were over, and went away.

The next morning, at nine, Forester asked him how he had got along the
day before. Marco had the frankness to admit that he did not get along
very well.

"Still," said Forester, "I am well satisfied on the whole. You did
very well for a first experiment. In the first place, you did really
make some effort to carry out my plan. You kept the reckoning of the
hours, and changed your studies at the appointed time. You did not
speak to me more than three or four times, and then you acquiesced
pretty good-naturedly in my refusing to help you. To-day you will do
better, I have no doubt, and to-morrow better still. And thus, in the
course of a week, I have great confidence that you will learn to study
for three hours by yourself, to good advantage."

"Two hours and a half it is," said Marco.

"Yes," said Forester.

It resulted as Forester predicted. Marco, finding that Forester was
disposed to be pleased with and to commend his efforts, made greater
efforts every day, and, in the course of a week, he began to be a
very respectable student. In the afternoon he used to ramble about,
sometimes with Forester, and sometimes alone. He was very fond of
fishing, and Forester used to allow him to go to certain parts of the
river, where the water was not deep, alone, trusting to his word that
he would confine himself strictly to the prescribed bounds.



Chapter VI.

The Log Canoe.



Every thing went on very prosperously, for a week or two, in the
little study. Marco became more and more attentive to his studies, and
more and more interested in them. He was often getting into little
difficulties, it is true, and giving trouble to his uncle and aunt;
but then he generally seemed sorry afterward for the trouble which he
had thus occasioned, and he bore reproof, and such punishments as his
cousin thought it necessary to inflict, with so much good-humor, that
they all readily forgave him for his faults and misdemeanors.

One day, however, about a fortnight after he had commenced his
studies, he got led away, through the influence of a peculiar
temptation, into a rather serious act of transgression, which might
have been followed by very grave consequences. The circumstances were
these. He had commenced his studies as usual, after having received
his half-hour's instruction from Forester, and was in the midst of the
process of reducing the fraction 504/756 to its lowest terms, when he
happened to look out of the window and to see two boys climbing over
a garden fence belonging to one of the neighbor's houses, at a little
distance in the rear of his uncle's house. It was a very pleasant
morning, and Marco had the window open; so he could see the boys very
plainly. They stopped on the farther side of the fence which they had
got over, and though they were partially concealed by the fence, yet
Marco could plainly perceive that they were busily employed in doing
something there, though he could not imagine what. He wished very much
to go and see; but he knew that it would be in vain to make request
for permission, and so he contented himself with watching them.

Just at this moment his uncle opened the door which led into the
little study, and asked Forester if he would step into the office.
Forester did so; and then, after a few minutes, he returned, put up
his books, and said that he had got to go away, and that perhaps he
should not be back till noon. Marco had often been left alone at his
studies for a time, but never for a whole morning before. He knew that
he was to go on with his work just as if Forester had remained. So
Forester bade him good morning, and then went away.

Marco watched the boys, wondering more and more what they could be
doing. They kept stooping down to the ground, and moving about a
little, as if they were planting seeds. But as it was entirely the
wrong season for any such work, Marco concluded that they must be
hiding something in the ground. "Perhaps," said he to himself, "they
have been stealing some money, and are burying it. I wish I could go
and see."

If there had been a door leading directly from the study into the
yard, Marco would have left his studies and have gone out at once; but
as it was, he could not get out without going through the office where
his uncle was sitting. At last the thought struck him that he might
jump out the window. He felt some hesitation at taking this step, but
finally he concluded that he would do it, and just go near enough to
see what the boys were hiding, and exactly where they were putting it,
so that he could go afterward and find it without fail. He determined
to return then immediately.

"I shall not be out longer than five minutes," said he to himself,
"and I will let it go for my recess."

So he took his cap from the nail where he was accustomed to hang it,
while he was at his studies, and then climbing out the window, feet
foremost, he let himself down gently to the ground. He then crept
slyly along through the yards and gardens, until he got pretty near
the place where the boys were at work. The mystery, however, was
rather increased than diminished by the near view. He could make
nothing of the operations which they were engaged in; and while he was
hesitating whether to go nearer, one of the boys happened to look up
and spied him. Marco had intended to keep himself concealed by a tree,
behind which he had taken his station, but the boy having looked up
suddenly, at a moment when he happened to be off his guard, saw him
before he had time to draw back under the cover he had chosen.

"Holloa, Marco," said the boy, "come here."

Marco was astonished at this frank and open invitation. He had
expected that the boys, when they saw him, would have dropped at once
behind the fence to conceal themselves, or that they would have caught
up what he supposed they were burying, and have run away. Their
accosting him in this fearless manner deranged his ideas about their
probable object, and increased his curiosity to know what they were
doing. So he came forth from his concealment and went toward them.
When he reached the spot, the mystery was suddenly dispelled by his
finding out that they were digging worms for bait, to go a-fishing.

Marco's curiosity was now changed to eager desire. The boys told him
that they were going down to the river to fish for eels, and Marco's
soul was all on fire to accompany them. He had never fished for eels.
He knew the boys very well, and they offered to lend him a hook and
line. But Marco thought that on the whole it would not do. He tried to
persuade them to wait until the afternoon, but they would not consent
to such a postponement of their pleasure. So Marco wished them good
luck, and began to mount the fence again, with the intention of
returning to his studies.

On looking toward the office, he saw his uncle coming out of the door
in the rear of it, and walking toward the house. Marco immediately
reflected that it would not answer for him to meet his uncle, and he
descended from the fence again on the same side with the boys, until
his uncle should go back. The boys thought he came back because he
was undecided whether to go with them or not, and they renewed their
invitations with redoubled urgency. Marco did not reply, but looked
steadily toward the house. He saw a man standing in the yard with a
small ladder in his hand. A moment afterward, Marco's uncle came out
of the house, and, to Marco's great consternation, he perceived that
he had a saw and a hatchet in his hand, and then he recollected that
his uncle had been intending to prune some trees that forenoon. The
trees were situated in various positions about the yard, so that Marco
could neither go in at the front door of the office, nor climb in at
the window, without being discovered. He did not know what to do.

In the mean time, the boys urged him to go with them. They did not
know any thing about his studies, and supposed that his hesitation was
only owing to his want of interest in the object of the expedition.
Finally, Marco concluded to go. He supposed that he should not be able
to get back into his study till noon, as he recollected that his
uncle expected to be employed all the forenoon about his pruning.
He thought, therefore, that his chance of detection would not be
increased by staying out an hour or two longer, and so he told the
boys that he would go.

When they had procured sufficient bait, they went toward the river.
Their way led them not very far from the house, and they were several
times in situations where they were exposed to view, in case Marco's
uncle had looked toward them. Marco, however, contrived to walk by
these places in such a manner as to cover himself as much as possible
from view by the other boys; and besides, he hoped that his uncle was
too much occupied with his pruning, to notice what boys were prowling
about the village. They passed across the street in this manner, and
then went down over the intervales toward the river. Marco felt quite
relieved at seeing that his uncle kept steadily at his work, holding
the ladder for the other man to mount by, or sawing off low branches
himself, without appearing to notice the boys at all.

The river was circuitous in its course, and its banks were in some
places steep, and in others low and sandy. The water was generally
shallow, but in some places it was deep,--especially under the high
banks. In many places there were willows and elms, overhanging the
water. It was in one of these places that the boys were going to fish
for eels. It was a point where the river took a sudden turn, forming a
sort of angle in the stream, where the water was very dark and deep.
The bank was high at that place, and it was covered with trees and
bushes. Some of these trees had been undermined, and their roots and
branches were floating in the water. The boys scrambled down to the
brink and made ready for fishing. They cut slender poles in the
bushes, for fishing-poles. There was a trunk of a tree lying along
the shore, extending obliquely out a little way over the water, which
furnished them a convenient footing. They stood or sat upon it, baited
their hooks, and threw them over into the water. They followed the
bait with their eyes as it sunk slowly down into the dark depths,
among the logs, and roots, and trunks of trees, which were lying
submerged in the water.

The boys remained here an hour, but they caught no eels. Either there
were none there, or for some reason or other they chose not to bite.
They had some talk about going to another place, but before they
decided upon that plan, Marco's attention was arrested by the sight of
what appeared to be a large log floating down the river. He pointed it
out to the other boys, and, on closer examination, they saw that it
was an old canoe, of the kind that are formed by hollowing out a log.
It was not of very large size and it appeared to be rather old and
decayed. Still, the boys wanted to get it very much. They gathered in
their lines, and ran along the bank, keeping pace with the boat as it
floated down.

[Illustration: BOAT ADRIFT.]

They very soon came to a reach of the river,--that is, to a length
of it between one bend and another, where the water was swift and
shallow. So the two boys who had been fishing with Marco threw off
their shoes, and pulled up their trowsers, and ran down the bank, and
into the river. The boat was far out in the stream, and they had to
wade some distance before they came to it. Besides, as the boat was
floating down all the time, while they were wading across, it got some
distance down the stream before they could reach it. They, however,
succeeded in getting it at last, and, with much floundering in the
water and many shouts of laughter, they brought it over to Marco.

Marco was much pleased with the prize. It was in better condition than
they had expected to find it. There was, indeed, a piece knocked out
at one end, near the upper edge, but they found that it would support
all three of the boys, if they sat in it carefully, and with their
weight principally at the other end. For want of oars or paddles they
cut poles on the banks, thinking that they could push the boat along,
by planting the poles against the bottom, as the water was not deep.
They drew the boat up to the shore, and poured out some water which
had got into her, and then they all carefully embarked, intending to
make a little voyage.

It happened that just below the place to which the boat had drifted
before they overtook it, the water became somewhat deeper, and of
course more smooth and still, so that it afforded a favorable place
for navigating such a boat. In fact, the character of the stream,
throughout its whole course for several miles, was to present a
constant succession of changes, from deep and almost still water, to
shallow and rapid currents, rippling over beds of sand and gravel.
One of these rapids, or rips, as they were called, the boys had just
passed; it being in one of them, though one more broad and less rapid
than many of the others, that they had pursued and overtaken the
boat. In the smooth and still water below, therefore, they had a very
favorable opportunity to try their boat, for the water, though not so
shallow as it was above, was still not so deep as to prevent their
propelling their boat, by pushing their poles against the bottom. It
required some care to preserve their equilibrium, but then the water
was not deep, and they knew, therefore, that there was no danger of
being drowned if they should upset.

Things went on very prosperously, until, after a few minutes, the boys
suddenly found themselves drifting into deeper water. Their poles
would scarcely touch the bottom. Marco, who was not much accustomed to
this kind of navigation, was at first somewhat alarmed, but the other
boys told him to keep quiet, and they would soon drift into shallow
water again. They accordingly drew in their poles, and began to look
over the edge of the boat into the water, to see if they could see
any eels. They saw no eels, but the water soon began to grow shallow
again, and so the boys, feeling that they were in no danger, remained
quietly in their places, looking idly into the water, talking about
the various objects which they saw upon the bottom.

After some minutes spent in this manner, one of the boys looked down
the stream, and saw that the boat was gradually approaching another of
the rapids.

"Come, boys," said he, "we must go to work, or we shall be down over
the rips."

So the boys all took their poles and began to push the boat up the
stream; but they found it harder than they had expected. In fact, the
boat had drifted down nearer to the rapids than they ought to have
allowed it to go. The water was running quite swiftly where they were,
and they soon found that all their efforts were not sufficient to stem
the current. The boat was carried round and round in every direction,
excepting up the stream. In fact the current was rapidly acquiring the
entire mastery over them, and hurrying them down to a point where the
water poured on in a furious torrent through a long narrow passage
between beds of stone and gravel.

"Pull, boys, pull!" said Marco; "we shall go down over the rips in
spite of every thing."

The boys did pull, but they could effect nothing. The water was
sweeping them along with great rapidity, notwithstanding all their
struggles. Finally, when they found that they could not make head
against it, so as to go up the stream, they concluded to pull for the
shore. They were not in any great fear, for the river was very narrow
and not more than knee deep in the rapids, so that there was no real
danger of any calamity greater than getting well wet. They seemed to
be also in a fair way to escape this, for they found that they could
make some progress in getting their boat toward the shore. But, just
as they began to think their object was about to be accomplished, they
were arrested by a sudden mishap. It happened that there was a little
snag in the river, nearly in the direction in which they were going.
It was the end of a small log, which rose almost to the surface of the
water. The greater part of the log was firmly imbedded in the sand,
but there was a small portion of it which projected so far as barely
to be submerged. The boys did not notice this, and, in their eagerness
to run the boat ashore, it happened that they were running it across
the current, just above this snag. But as the current was sweeping
them down the stream at the same time that they were pushing
themselves across it, it carried the boat with great force against
this snag. The bottom of the boat was confined by it, while the force
of the current, still pressing upon the side, overset it in a moment,
and threw all the boys out into the water.

The boys scrambled out without much difficulty, and stood upon the
gravelly beach. They saw at the same moment a man on the bank of the
river above, who looked as if he was about to run to their aid; but
when he saw that they were safe, he turned around immediately and
disappeared. An instant afterward, Marco, finding that his cap was not
upon his head, looked around for it, and, to his dismay, he saw it
floating swiftly away down the rapids. He ran into the water and
seized the boat, which was then beginning also to go away. He called
upon the boys to help him pull it up and pour the water out. He then
lanched it again with all speed, seized one of the poles, clambered
into it, and pushed off into the swiftest part of the current, and
away he went after his cap.

[Illustration: CAP GONE.]

He resorted to this desperate measure, because he was greatly alarmed
at the idea of going home without his cap. It would have certainly
insured his detection, and, as he supposed, a double punishment. He
now was as eager to go down the rapids as he had before been to escape
them. His only care was to keep his boat head down, so that if he
should encounter any snag or rock he might not be thrown broadside on.
He kept a good lookout too ahead. The boat shot through the water like
an arrow, and was soon clear of the rapids in the comparatively still
water below.

Marco contrived to paddle with his pole, so as to overtake the cap and
recover it. Then he went to the shore and landed. He drew up the
boat as high as he could, and went back to seek the other boys. He
concluded that it was time to go home. His conscience now began to
reproach him with the wrong which he had been doing. His promised
pleasure had failed. His clothes were wet and uncomfortable. His mind
was anxious and unhappy. With a heavy heart he began to retrace his
steps, sure of detection when he reached home, and of punishment. He
did not, however, dread the punishment so much as the just displeasure
which his cousin would manifest, and the evidence of the pain which he
knew his cousin would suffer, when he came to learn how his pupil had
betrayed the confidence which had been reposed in him. Before he set
out for home, however, he took off such of his clothes as were most
wet, and wrung out the water as well as he could, and then put them on
again.

When he drew near to the house, he expected to see his uncle still at
work, but he was not there. Marco reconnoitered the place carefully,
and then went into the office. His uncle was not in the office. He
passed through into the study. He was afraid that Forester would be
there, but, to his surprise and joy, he was not, and there was no sign
that he had been there since the morning. Marco looked at the watch,
and found that it was only about half-past eleven. So he took down
a volume of the Encyclopedia and began to read. He read the article
_canoe_, and he found some information about the bark canoes made
by Indians, but nothing about log canoes. In about fifteen minutes he
heard the office door open, and his cousin Forester came in. Forester
walked into the study, but said nothing to Marco. Marco kept at his
work, without speaking to his cousin. He began to hope that he might
yet escape. His only fear now was lest his wet clothes should be
observed. He put his hand down many times to his knees, to ascertain
how fast they were drying. The clothes that he wore were of woolen,
and of a dark color, so that they did not show the wet very
distinctly, and, besides, the sun and the air were warm that day, and
the clothes had dried fast. In a word, when twelve o'clock arrived and
Marco put his books away, nobody would have observed that his clothes
had been wet. He ran about in the open air until dinner-time, and
though, when he went in to dinner, he felt oppressed with a sense of
guilt and of self-condemnation, he was satisfied that no one suspected
him. Marco thought that he had had a very lucky escape.



Chapter VII.

A Dilemma.



Though Marco's first feeling was that of relief, to find that he had
got back from his truancy without detection, he felt, after all, ill
at ease. He kept out of sight till the dinner-bell rang, and then he
was almost afraid to go in, for fear that, by some accident or other,
his uncle might have noticed his absence, and might ask him something
about it. He was usually much interested at dinner-time in talking
with Forester about plans for the afternoon; but now he felt guilty
and afraid, and he was disinclined to look his uncle or his cousin in
the face, or to speak a word.

And yet it was not punishment that Marco was afraid of. There were
very few boys who could bear punishment of any kind with more
fortitude than he, or to whom the idea of punishment gave less
concern. It was the detection itself, rather than what was to come
after it, that he feared. There is something in the very act of being
detected and exposed in guilt, which the heart instinctively shrinks
from; and many a boy would willingly bear in secret twice the pain
which the punishment of an offense would bring, rather than have his
commission of the offense discovered and made known.

There was, however, no indication, at the dinner table, that Marco's
cousin or uncle suspected him of any wrong. They talked of various
subjects in their usual manner. Forester had arranged it with Marco,
to go that afternoon down to the mill-pond, to examine the boat, in
order to see whether they could have it fitted with oars, and to
make arrangements to that effect. Marco now hoped that Forester had
forgotten this plan, and would not go. Though he had been very much
interested in the plan the day before, he now felt disinclined to go.
He wished to be alone, or at least out of sight of Forester. He felt
as if he had a terrible secret on his mind, and that there was great
danger that something or other would occur to discover it. So he hoped
that Forester would have forgotten the appointment, and that it would
be thus postponed to some future time.

But Forester had not forgotten it; and after dinner, he asked Marco
how soon he should be ready to go. Marco said that he should be ready
at any time; and in about half an hour they set out. They walked
together to the mill-pond. Forester said that the boat belonged to
a man who worked in the mills, but he lived a little distance above
them. His house was near the water, in a little valley. The water of
the pond extended up into this valley, forming a sort of bay.

[Illustration: THE MILLMAN'S HOUSE.]

A road led to the house, but did not go beyond it. The house was
small, but it had pleasant little yards and gardens about it, and
various pens and coops for different sorts of animals. The man who
lived there was famous for keeping a great many animals. He had pigs,
and cows, and Malta cats, and two dogs,--one of them a water dog,--and
ducks and geese,--among the latter, two wild geese,--and hens and
rabbits; and there were two gray squirrels, hanging up in a cage by
the side of the front door. Forester told Marco about these animals as
they walked along.

Marco was very fond of animals, and he began to anticipate great
pleasure in seeing these. When they came near the house, he ran
forward to look at the wild geese. The water dog ran to meet Forester.
He knew Forester, having often seen him there before. Forester and
Marco rambled about the yards, looking at the animals for some time,
and then went to the water's edge, which was very near the house. The
ducks and geese were swimming in the water. Forester called the dog
there, and Marco amused himself for some time in throwing sticks into
the water, and ordering the dog, whose name was Nelson, to plunge in
and go and bring them back. The boat was there too, fastened by a rope
to a post in the bank. At length, after Marco had satisfied himself
with these amusements, he said,

"Well, cousin Forester, here is the boat."

"Yes," said Forester, "but the man don't seem to be at home. I presume
he's at the mill."

"And what shall we do in that case?" asked Marco.

"Why, I will go into the house first, and ascertain the fact, and get
a paddle."

So Forester went into the house, and soon afterward returned, bringing
with him a paddle. He said that the man was at the mill, but that
his wife said that they might have the boat to go and find him. "I
thought," said Forester, "that you would rather go in the boat than
walk."

"Yes," said Marco, "I should."

"Besides," continued Forester, "I can teach you to paddle."

Marco took the paddle from Forester's hand. He had never seen one
before. He said that they always used oars, not paddles, in New York
harbor. A paddle is shaped very differently from an oar. It is much
shorter and lighter,--though the blade is broader. A paddle is worked,
too, differently from an oar. An oar acts as a lever against the side
of the boat,--the middle of it resting in a small notch called a
row-lock, or between two wooden pins. But a paddle is held in the
hands entirely.

"What do they have paddles for in this country?" said Marco. "Oars are
better."

"You are not competent to decide that question," replied Forester.

"Why not?" said Marco; "I have rowed boats many a time."

"Yes, but you have never paddled much. You have used oars, but not
paddles, and so you can not compare them."

"Well," said Marco, "I mean to try this paddle now, and then I can
tell."

Marco had seen the boys who were with him in the boat that morning,
using their poles as paddles, and he had used one of the poles in that
manner himself; and he was just upon the point of saying something
upon the subject, when suddenly he recollected that it would betray
him. In fact, Marco found that having such a secret as this upon his
mind, was a source of great embarrassment and constraint, as he more
than once came very near making some allusion inadvertently, which
would have resulted in his exposure. While speaking of boats, and
oars, and paddles, and such subjects, he had to be continually upon
his guard and to watch all his words.

[Illustration: PADDLING]

They got into the boat and pushed out upon the water. Forester taught
Marco how to use the paddle. He gave him his seat in the stern of the
boat, and directed him to grasp the lower end of the handle with the
other hand. Then, by dipping the blade in the water and pushing the
water back, the boat was propelled forward. He also explained to him
how, by turning the blade of the paddle, one way or the other, he
could give the bow of the boat an impulse toward the right or toward
the left.

"Thus you see," said Forester, "with a paddle you can steer, but with
an oar you can not."

"With two oars I can," said Marco.

"Yes." replied Forester. "You must have two oars to guide a boat, but
you can do it with one paddle. Therefore, if you can have but one, a
paddle is better than an oar. There is another advantage in a paddle;
that is, in using it, your face looks the way that you are going."

"Yes," rejoined Marco, "that is a great advantage."

"In rowing, you must sit with your back to the bow of the boat, and
look over your shoulder to see where you are going."

"Yes," said Marco, "unless you have a steersman."

"True," replied Forester. "When you have several men to row, and one
to steer, you get along very well with oars, but in case of only one
man, there is an advantage in a paddle. There is still another point
to be considered,--a paddle is better for a narrow boat and oars for
wide ones."

"Why so?" asked Marco.

"Because," said Forester, "a certain width is required in a boat in
order to work oars well. The oarsman must sit upon the seat, and
extend the oar off upon one side of the boat, and there must be a
certain distance between the part which he takes hold of, and the
row-lock, in order to work to advantage. But it is no matter how
narrow the boat is if he has a paddle, for he holds it perpendicularly
over the side."

"So paddles are better," said Marco, "for one kind of boat, and oars
for another."

"Yes," replied Forester, "and paddles are better for one kind of
_navigation_, and oars for another. Oars require greater breadth
of water to work in. In a narrow, crooked stream flowing among logs
and rocks, oars would not answer at all. But with a paddle a man can
worm a boat through anywhere."

"That is, if it is only wide enough for the boat to go," said Marco.

"Of course," replied Forester. "The paddle itself requires no
additional space. But oars extend so far laterally"--

"Laterally?" asked Marco.

"Yes," rejoined Forester; "that is, on each side. Oars extend so far
on each side, that they require a great breadth of water. If you
attempt to go through a narrow place, the oars would strike."

"Why, no," said Marco. "You can give orders to trail oars."

"I don't know any thing about that," said Forester.

"That's a beautiful manoeuver," said Marco, "only it is hard to do.
You see, you order them to give way hearty, so as to get a good
headway, till just as you get to the narrow place, and then
_trail_ is the word. Then the oarsmen all whip their oars out of
the row-locks in an instant, and let 'em trail alongside under the
boat's counters, and she shoots through the narrow place like a bird."

Marco became very enthusiastic in describing this manoeuver, but
Forester did not get a very clear idea of it, after all.

"You'll teach it to us," said Forester, "when we get our oars and
a good boat's crew of boys. At any rate, a boat can be paddled
continuously through a narrow space, better than it can be rowed.
Therefore, paddles are generally used on rivers, where there are many
narrow places to pass through. Indians and savages almost always use
paddles, for they navigate many intricate and narrow passages of
water."

By this time they began to draw near the mill. They landed near some
great logs which were floating in the water, ready to be drawn up into
the mill and sawed. They went up the bank and thence into the mill.
The man who owned the boat, was tending the mill. When he wanted a
log, he would take the end of a long chain down a sloping plane of
planks which led to the water, and fasten it to a log. The other end
of the chain was fastened round an axle in the mill, and when all was
ready, the man would set the axle in motion by the machinery, and that
would draw the log up. When the log was in the mill, the man would
roll it over into its place, on a long platform of timber, where it
was to be sawed. Then he would set the saw machinery in motion, and
the platform would begin to move forward, and the saw at the same time
to go up and down, sawing the log as it advanced. Thus it would saw
it through, from end to end, and then, by reversing the motion of the
machinery, the log was carried back again. The man would then move it
a little to one side, just far enough for the thickness of the board
which he wished to make, and then begin to saw again. He moved the log
by means of an iron bar with a sharp point, which he struck into the
end of the log, and thus pried it over, one end at a time. When the
log was placed in its new position, the machinery was set in motion
again, and the log was sawed through in another place, from end to
end, parallel to the first sawing, leaving the width of a board
between. This process was continued until the log was sawed entirely
into boards, except a piece in the middle, which it was necessary to
leave of double thickness, and this answered for a plank.

Marco was much interested in watching this process, and when the
sawing of this log was completed, and another log drawn up into its
place, Forester introduced the subject of the boat. He told the man
what he wished to do, namely, to have some row-locks or thole-pins
made along the sides of the boat, and some oars to row it with. It
would also be necessary to have seats, or thwarts, as they are called,
placed in such a manner that there should be one just before each
row-lock. These seats were for the oarsmen to sit upon, in rowing. The
man told Forester that he might do any thing he pleased with the boat.
He was sure that Forester would do it no injury. Forester asked him
who would be a good man to do the work, and the man recommended to him
a wagon-maker who had a shop very near the mill.

They went to the wagon-maker and explained to him what they wanted.
The wagon-maker readily undertook the work. They all went down to the
boat together, to plan the seats and the places for the thole-pins.
They concluded to have three pairs on each side. This would require
six oars. These oars the wagon-maker promised to make, and to have all
the work done by the beginning of the next week. They also concluded
to have the boat taken out of the water and thoroughly calked again,
and her bottom _payed_ over with pitch, as she was not perfectly
tight. This being all arranged, Forester and Marco began to walk
toward home.

"It seems to me strange to get a wagon-maker to work on a boat," said
Marco.

"In New York, I suppose you would go to a boat-builder," said
Forester.

"Yes," replied Marco, "to be sure."

"There are no boat-builders here," rejoined Forester. "In fact, there
are very few trades represented here, and workmen are willing to do
any kind of jobs that they can."

As only a small part of the afternoon was yet passed away, Marco asked
Forester if he might go down to the river a-fishing. "I can keep
within my bounds, you know," said he.

"Yes," said Forester, "you _can_ keep within your bounds."

"And I will," said Marco. "Don't you suppose I will?"

"Why, you can tell better than I can about that," said Forester.
"You have been here now some weeks, and I have treated you with
considerable trust and confidence,--have I not?"

"Why, yes," said Marco.

"I have given you leave to go a-fishing, trusting to your fidelity
in keeping within your bounds. I have left you alone in your study,
several times in the forenoons. I have let you go up on the mountains
with other boys, and lent you my watch, so that you might know when
it was time to come back. Now you can tell better than I, whether you
have been faithful to all of these trusts."

Marco did not answer. He did not know what to say. He walked along in
silence.

"I will leave it with you to decide," said Forester. "Here we are just
home; now you may go into the study and reflect a few moments upon the
subject. Call to mind all the cases in which I have treated you with
trust and confidence, and consider whether you have always been
faithful to the trust. If, on reflection, you think that you have, you
may take your fishing-line and go a-fishing. If you feel conscious
that you have at any time betrayed my confidence, you must not go this
afternoon. You may go out to play wherever you please about the house
and garden, but you must not go a-fishing. If you are in doubt whether
you have betrayed my confidence or not, and wish to ask my opinion
about some particular case which comes up to your mind, you may remain
in the study till I come in, and ask me, and I will tell you. I shall
be in, in a few minutes."

There was a pause here. Marco looked very serious, and walked along in
silence. Such a turn to the conversation was entirely unexpected to
him, and he did not know what to say.

"It is possible," continued Forester, "that you may be conscious that
you have clearly been guilty of betraying the confidence which I have
placed in you in some instance which I know nothing of, or which you
suppose I know nothing of, and you may wish to confess it to me. If
you have been guilty of any such act, the best thing that you can do
is to confess it to me at once; and if you wish to do it, you may wait
till I come, for that purpose. So you may wait till I come either to
ask me a question, or to confess a fault. If you do not wish to do
either, you may go out without waiting for me; but you must not go
a-fishing unless you can truly say that you have been faithful and
honest, whenever I have trusted you before."

So saying, Forester parted from Marco and went into the house. Marco
slowly walked into the office, and through it into the little study.
He was greatly perplexed to know what to make of this address. "Can
it be," thought he, "that he knows that I went away this morning? How
could he have found it out? Or did he say that, only to find out now
whether I have been honest or not heretofore?"

On mature reflection, Marco concluded that Forester did not probably
know any thing about his having gone away. He thought that what he had
just said was only a part of Forester's general plan of managing
his case, and that it did not imply that Forester entertained any
particular suspicions. Marco thought that he might therefore safely go
a-fishing that afternoon if he was disposed; but we must do him the
justice to say, that he did not entertain the idea of doing it a
moment. He determined that he would not go. But as he was not prepared
to confess his fault, and as he had no question to ask, he determined
to go and play about the garden. He thought a little of waiting till
his cousin came in, and then honestly making a confession; but he
could not quite conclude upon this, and so he determined to go and
think more of it. Besides, he concluded that if he were going to make
a confession at all, he should rather do it that evening when he went
to bed; for Forester always came up to his room after he went to bed,
to have a little friendly and serious conversation with him, and to
bid him good night.

He accordingly went out before Forester came in. He spent the
afternoon in a miserable state of mind. He could not divest himself of
the feeling of anxiety, that in some way or other, Forester had found
out his transgression. He rather wondered, that, if it were true that
Forester had found it out, he had not said something to him directly
about it,--but then he knew it was Forester's way not always to make
known, at once, all that he knew in such cases. But then he thought,
again, that Forester _could_ not know any thing about it. There
was no way for him to have known it. He was away all the morning, and
did not come home until after Marco got back. So he concluded that
Forester did not know; but he began to wish that he did. He could not
bear to think of telling him, but he wished that he knew. The burden
of such a secret became intolerable to him. He strolled about the
yards and garden, not knowing what to do with himself, and growing all
the time more and more anxious and unhappy. He was in a very serious
dilemma.

Marco cast his eyes occasionally toward the office, expecting to see
Forester come out. He thought Forester would want to know whether he
went a-fishing or not. But he did not come. Marco spent some time in
the garden with James, who was at work there raking over the ground,
and gathering in such things as might be hurt by any sudden frost.
Marco worked with him for some time, and endeavored to converse with
him, but he did not find him very communicative, and at last he went
into the house and sat on the sofa in the parlor, reading, until
supper time.

Marco fully expected that Forester would ask him at supper time
whether he had been a-fishing or not; but he said nothing about it.
Forester told his father and mother about their plan for a boat, and
gave them a full account of their visit to the mill. His mother seemed
quite interested in the account, and told Marco, that, after he got
his crew well trained, she should hope that he would invite her on an
excursion in the boat.

"Yes," said Marco, "we will. We must have a seat, cousin Forester, for
passengers and visitors, in the stern sheets."

"The stern sheets?" said Forester, "what do you mean by the stern
sheets?"

"Why, it is aft," said Marco, "between the coxswain's place and the
stroke-oarsman."

"You'll have to show us," said his aunt, "when we come to see the
boat."

This kind of conversation somewhat relieved Marco's mind,--but still
he was ill at ease, and he determined to tell Forester the whole story
at bedtime, if he could only summon up courage to begin.



Chapter VIII.

A Confession.



In the room where Marco slept, there was a large, stuffed arm-chair,
which was commonly called the easy chair; it was one that was seldom
used by the family, except in sickness. It stood in a corner of the
room not far from the head of Marco's bed. Forester used to sit in
this chair while he remained conversing with Marco, when he came up to
take his light.

When Forester had taken his seat in the great chair this evening,
according to his usual custom, he began his conversation by saying.

"Well, Marco, have you been helping James in the garden this
afternoon?"

"Why, no," said Marco, "I did not help him much,--I don't like James
very well."

"Why not?" asked Forester.

"Why, I don't think he is very accommodating," replied Marco.

"What has he done to-day, which is unaccommodating?" asked Forester.

"He would not lend me his knife. I wanted to borrow his knife to cut
me a cane from some apple-tree trimmings, and he would not let me have
it."

"Haven't you got a knife of your own?" asked Forester.

"Yes," said Marco, "but mine won't open."

"Won't open?" repeated Forester. "What's the cause of that?"

"Why, I suppose because the joint is rusty," replied Marco.

"How came it rusty?" asked Forester.

"Why, you see I laid it down one day on a stone, where I was at work
with it, and left it there, and there happened to come a rain in the
night and rusted it. I did not know where it was, and so I didn't find
it for a good many days."

"Then, I presume," said Forester, "that James supposed that you would
leave his knife out in the same way and spoil it."

"No," replied Marco, "that was not the reason."

"You are sure that you asked him for it distinctly, and he refused?"

"Yes," said Marco.

Here there was a moment's pause. Marco thought that his cousin
Forester was considering what should be done to James, for being so
unaccommodating. He did not know but that he would report him to his
father and have him turned away; though Marco did not really wish to
have him turned away.

But Forester said, after reflecting a moment, "That makes me think of
a story I have got here; listen and hear it."

[Illustration: MARCO'S ROOM.]

So Forester took out his pocket-book and opened it, and then appeared
to be turning over the leaves, for a moment, to find a place. Then he
began to read, or to appear to read, as follows:

Once there was a little girl named Anne. She came to her mother one
day, as she was sitting in the parlor, and began to complain bitterly
of her sister Mary. Her sister Mary was older than she was, and had a
doll. Anne complained that Mary would not lend her her doll.

"Are you sure that she refused to lend you her doll?" asked her
mother.

"Yes, mother, I am _sure_ she did," replied Anne.

"Perhaps she is playing with it herself," said her mother.

"No," replied Anne, "she is ironing in the kitchen."

"I think you must be mistaken," said her mother. "Go and ask her
again. Don't tell her I sent you, but ask her yourself, whether she
really meant that she was not willing to lend you her doll."

So Anne ran off to put the question to Mary again; presently she
returned with the same answer. "Mary," she said, "would not lend it to
her."

"I am very sorry to hear it," said her mother, "for now I suppose I
shall have to punish you."

"To punish _her_, you mean," said Anne.

"No," said her mother, "to punish you. I don't suppose _she_ is
to blame."

"Why, mother--how can _I_ be to blame, for her not being willing
to lend me her doll?"

"You _are_, I've no doubt," said her mother. "Mary is a
good-natured, accommodating girl,--always ready to do kindnesses, and
if she has any unwillingness to lend any thing to you, it must be that
you have created it yourself, by some misconduct. So that it will
prove, no doubt, that you are the one to be punished."

Here Anne began to hang her head and look a little ashamed. Her
mother's supposition proved to be correct, for, on inquiring, it
appeared that Mary had lent her doll to Anne a few days before, and
that when she wanted it again, Anne was unwilling to give it to her,
and when Mary insisted on her bringing it to her, she became angry and
threw the doll out the window.

"I never heard that story before, cousin Forester," said Marco. "And I
did not know that you had stories in your pocket-book."

Forester laughed and put up his pocket-book.

"I don't believe there is any story there," said Marco. "You made it
up for me, I verily believe."

"Yes," said Forester, "I did. Don't it fit your case pretty well?"

"Why, I don't know," said Marco. "I don't see why he could not let me
have his knife."

"Suppose _I_ had asked him for his knife; don't you suppose he
would have lent it to me?"

"Yes," said Marco, "I've no doubt he would; he would do any thing for
_you_, of course, because you pay him--or uncle pays him, which
is the same thing."

"I don't think that that is the reason altogether," replied Forester.
"There was the man at the mill to-day, who said that I might take his
boat and do any thing I chose to do with it."

"Yes," said Marco, "I noticed that."

"And perhaps you thought it was very much to his credit that he did
so."

"Yes," said Marco.

"But the fact is," rejoined Forester, "as I think, it was more to
my credit than his; because I have had his boat a great many times
heretofore, and his having so much confidence in me now, shows how I
have acted with his property before. I have always taken a great deal
of pains to use it carefully, to bring it back to its place safely, to
get the water out, if there was any in it, and leave every thing in
order. I have done this, not only because it is just and right that I
should not make him suffer inconvenience on account of his doing me a
favor, but as a matter of policy."

"What do you mean by a matter of policy?" asked Marco.

"Why, regard to my own interest. If I did not do so, I should soon
make people unwilling to lend me their things. And I think there must
be some good reason why James is not willing to lend you his knife."

"Why, he says," answered Marco, "that I don't bring back his things."

"Ah!" rejoined Forester, "that's it. I thought there must be some such
reason as that. You have lost your character with James, and I advise
you to acquire a new one as soon as you can. Besides, you have done
him injustice this evening. You represented him as refusing you his
knife because he was unaccommodating and selfish, whereas it was
only proper regard to the safety of his property. What you said was
calculated to make an unfavorable impression on my mind against him,
and one which would have been unjust."

Marco perceived that it was so, and was silent.

"I am sorry that your knife is rusty," resumed Forester. "Perhaps I
can get it open for you."

"How?" asked Marco.

"Why, I believe the best way is to soak the joint in oil. The oil will
insinuate itself into the joint, and then we can get hold of the blade
with a pair of nippers, or something of the kind, and open it; and
then, by working it to and fro a few times, the rust will work out,
and the knife be as good as it was before. If it is very rusty indeed,
this plan will not answer."

"What must be done in that case?" asked Marco.

"The only way then is to carry it to some kind of smith and get him to
punch out the rivet. Then we can take the blade out entirely. By this
means we can clean it of its rust, and then put it in again with a new
rivet. If you will give me your knife to-morrow, I will try to put it
in order for you again, in one or the other of these ways.

"And now," continued Forester, after a short pause, "it is time for me
to go down, unless you have something which you wish to say."

Although it was not unusual for Forester to close his evening
conversation in this manner, Marco's attention was particularly
arrested by the excellent opportunity which this remark afforded him
to make his confession. He really wished to make it,--but he did not
know how to begin. He wished that his cousin would ask him something
about it, or introduce the subject in some way or other, but Forester
was silent. Presently he rose, came to Marco's bedside, and asked him
if he was warm enough,--for the nights at this season of the year were
beginning to be cool.

"Yes," said Marco, "I'm very comfortable."

"Well, then, good night." So Forester took the lamp and walked slowly
toward the door.

"Cousin Forester," said Marco.

"What?" said Forester.

"Don't go just yet."

Forester turned back and advanced to the foot of the bed. There was a
high foot-board at the foot of the bed, and Forester leaned upon it
with the lamp in his hand.

"Is there any thing that you want to say to me?"

Marco was silent. He looked distressed and embarrassed, and moved his
head restlessly on his pillow.

"There's something wrong, isn't there, Marco," said Forester, "that
you are thinking whether to confess to me or not? If there is, do just
as you choose about it. I like to have you confess what you have done
that is wrong, but then, if you do it at all, it must be done of your
own accord."

"Well," said Marco, "I want to tell you about my going away to play
this forenoon."

"How long were you gone?" asked Forester.

"Pretty much all the forenoon," replied Marco.

"Well," said Forester, "I am very glad you concluded to confess it of
your own accord, but I know all about it."

Marco started up in his bed and looked his cousin in the face, and
said,

"Why, cousin Forester, how did you know?"

"To prove to you that I really did know, I will tell you what you did.
You got out of the window soon after I went away, and went over into
Mr. Eldon's garden, where George Eldon and Samuel Warner were digging
worms for bait. Then you went with them down to the river. You hid
behind them when you passed in sight of the house, for fear that
father would see you, as he was out in the yard, pruning trees.
Then you went down to the river and sat on a log under some bushes,
fishing. After a while you spied an old log canoe, drifting down the
river, and the other boys waded out and got it. Then you all got into
it and paddled about a while, and afterward got carried over the rips
and upset in the water. Your cap drifted down the stream, and you
went after it in the canoe and got it. After that, you took off your
stockings and wrung out the water from them, and then came home. You
got into the study only about a quarter of an hour before I came."

Marco listened to this minute account of his adventures with eager
interest, wondering how his cousin could have obtained so early and
such complete information. After Forester had concluded, he paused a
moment and breathed a long sigh. Then he laid his head down upon his
pillow again, saying,

"Well, I don't see how you found it out; and I am sorry that you did,
for I meant to have told you all about it myself."

Marco seemed really disappointed at having lost the opportunity to
make his full confession, but Forester told him that he considered
that he _had_ made full confession. "You made up your mind to
do it," said he, "and you did begin, and it was the beginning which
required all the effort. I only refrained from asking you about the
details, from a wish to show you that I really knew all about it."

"I don't see how you found it out," said Marco. "I suppose it must
have been that the boys told you."

"No," replied Forester; "I have not seen either of the boys, or heard
any thing from them, directly or indirectly."

"Then you must have watched me yourself," said Marco, "instead of
going away."

"Do you think," said Forester, "that I would pretend that I was going
away, and then just go out a little way and lie in wait to watch you?

"Why, no,"--said Marco,--"I don't really suppose that you would."

"No," said Forester, "I really went away nut of town. I went to visit
a sick man and help him make his will, and I did not return until just
before you saw me."

"Then I don't see how you knew," said Marco.

"It is of very little consequence to you to know that," said Forester,
"but I want to ask you a little more about the affair. Are you willing
to answer any question that I may ask?"

Marco said that he was, and Forester asked him about the circumstances
which led him to go away. Marco explained to him how he saw the boys,
and what he thought that they were doing, and what induced him to go
and see them, and how he was prevented from coming back as he had
intended. There was an air of openness and honesty in the manner in
which Marco related these facts, which convinced Forester that he was
telling the truth.

Forester was glad to find that it was not a deliberate and
preconcerted plan, between Marco and the other boys, to go off on this
expedition; for, bad as it was for Marco to allow himself to be drawn
away by such temptations, it would have been worse, or rather it would
have indicated a worse state of character, if he had deliberately
planned such a truancy.

"Well," said Forester, as he was about to close the conversation, "I
am very glad that you concluded to confess your fault. I am very glad,
too, that you did not go a-fishing this afternoon under the sort of
permission which I gave you. I infer from these two things that you
wish to be cured of these faults, and to become a boy of firm moral
principle. Now it is a rule with me, generally, not to punish a boy
for what he confesses of his own accord. Still, I think it probable
it would be better for you to have some punishment for this. It would
help to make a strong impression upon your mind, and make it much more
easy for you to resist such temptations in time to come. But you
may decide this question yourself. If you choose to submit to a
punishment, and will tell me so to-morrow morning, I will think of
some suitable one for you. If you do not say any thing to me about it,
I shall not punish you." So saying, Forester bade Marco good night.

The next morning, Marco met Forester on the stairs, as he was coming
down to breakfast, and told him that he thought he should feel better
to be punished. So Forester reflected upon the subject, and at nine
o'clock, when Marco went in to commence his studies, Forester told him
that he had concluded upon his punishment.

"What is it to be?" said Marco.

"It is for me not to allow you to study," replied Forester, "all this
forenoon, but to require you to sit still at your desk, with nothing
to do. You see it will be a sort of solitary imprisonment, only your
prison will in itself be a pleasant place."

Marco thought that this would not be a very severe punishment, but he
found, in enduring it, that it was in fact much more severe than he
had imagined. He got very tired indeed, long before the forenoon was
out. He concluded that solitary imprisonment for years, in a gloomy
dungeon, must be a terrible punishment indeed.

A year or two after this time, when Marco had been entirely cured of
all such faults, he one day asked Forester to explain to him how he
knew where he went on this memorable forenoon; and Forester willingly
explained it to him. It seems that Forester's father, though a very
gentle and kind-hearted man, was a very shrewd one, and having been
accustomed to the discovery, in the course of his practice, of all
sorts of pranks and roguery, was less disposed to place confidence in
others till he knew the confidence was deserved, than Forester himself
was, who had less experience. And when he knew that Forester had gone
away, leaving Marco alone, he doubted a little whether he would remain
industriously at his work. While he was thinking of this, he heard a
slight noise which Marco made with his feet against the clapboards of
the house in getting out the window. He therefore came into the study
a moment afterward, and found that Marco had gone. He looked out the
window and saw him going off toward the other boys. Just at that
moment the man came to help him prune his trees, but before he began
this work he went into the house to James, called him to a window and
pointed out Marco to him, and said,

"I want you, James, to follow him, and keep in sight of him until he
returns, but if possible don't let him see you. Say nothing to
me about it, but give my son Forester an account of all that you
observe."

James did as he was directed, and when Forester came back he told him
the whole story, just before Forester went into the study. So that
Forester knew all about it, before Marco saw him. James managed the
affair very adroitly, for he kept himself entirely out of sight except
in one instance, and that was when the boys fell into the water. He
then rushed toward them for fear that they might be drowned, but
he stopped on the bank when he saw that there was no danger, and
disappeared again before Marco had time to recognize him.



Chapter IX.

Boating.



The alterations and improvements, which Forester had ordered in the
boat, were completed at the time promised. Marco said that it would
require a crew of eight to man the boat properly: six oarsmen, a
bowman, and a coxswain. Marco pronounced this word as if it was spelt
_coxen_. This is the proper way to pronounce it. It means the one
who sits in the stern, to steer the boat and direct the rowers. In
fact, the coxswain is the commander of the boat's crew.

"_I_ will be bowman," said Marco, "and you can be coxswain, and
then we shall want six boys for oarsmen."

"You will have to explain to me then what my duties will be," said
Forester, "for I don't even know what a coxswain is."

"Why, he's the commander," said Marco. "He gives all the orders."

"Then you must be coxswain at first," said Forester, "for I don't know
any thing about it. You have got to teach us all. After I have learned
to manage a boat with six oars, man-of-war fashion, I should like to
be coxswain sometimes very much. And it seems to me," added Forester,
"that you and I had better go down first alone, until you get me
taught, and then we can get the boys to come afterward."

"O no," said Marco, "you'll all learn easily enough together. I can
tell you all exactly what to do."

Forester acceded to this proposal, and they made out a list of six
boys, and Forester authorized Marco to invite them to come. "Be sure,"
said Forester, "to tell their parents that we are going out in a boat,
and tell them that I am going too." Marco did this. The boys all
gladly accepted the invitation. They came first to the house, and then
proceeded by a path, from the foot of the garden, which led to the
mill-pond. It was about half-past one when they reached the boat.

Here there was a great scene of confusion, as the boys all commenced
talking and asking questions together. They found the boat in fine
order, being perfectly tight and dry, and the new seats being all in
their places. The oars, however, were not there. Forester recommended
to Marco to send a detachment of his men, to go to the wagon-maker's
shop and get them. So Marco sent off three of the boys, calculating
very correctly that they could bring two oars apiece. Before many
minutes they returned, each of the boys having two oars, one on each
shoulder.

The other boys immediately began to take the oars, and they all
advanced together toward the boat, to get in.

"Stop," exclaimed Marco, "stop, boys! you must not go aboard without
an order. I'm coxswain; you must wait till I tell you, before one of
you goes aboard. John, come out."

John, who had stepped into the boat, came back again on hearing this
peremptory order, and the boys waited on the bank. Marco then
told them to put the oars in. The boys began to pitch them in, in
confusion, some falling upon the thwarts, and some into the bottom of
the boat.

"No,--stop," said Marco; "that isn't the way. Put 'em in in order."

"Yes, put 'em in order," said John. "Let's put 'em in order."

"Lay 'em along the thwarts," said Marco, "the blades forward."

Marco explained to the boys how to place the oars. They were laid
along the middle of the thwarts so as to leave room to sit by the side
of them. They were placed in such a manner that the handle of one came
upon each seat.

"_Aboard!_" said Marco, in a military tone.

The boys did not understand that order, and of course did not obey it.

"_Aboard_, I say!" repeated Marco; "when I say _Aboard_, you
must all get into the boat."

With this explanation of the word of command, the boys understood what
they were to do, and got aboard the boat as fast as they could. There
was much confusion among them in getting their seats. Several of them
began to take up their oars, until they were forbidden to do so by
Marco, in a loud voice.

"You must not touch the oars," said he, "until I say _Toss_. Then
you must take them and toss them right up in the air."

"How?" said one of the boys, named Joseph. "How, Marco?"

This question was scarcely heard amid the confusion.

"Be silent, boys; don't talk, and don't stop to ask _how_, but do
just as I tell you."

Marco was so much accustomed to the idea which sailors attach to
the word _toss_, and to the manner in which they perform the
evolution, that he forgot how many different ways there might be of
tossing up an oar. The proper way is, when the command is given, for
each oarsman to raise the blade of his oar quick, but gently, into the
air, letting the end of the handle rest upon the thwart. It is then in
a position to be let down into the water conveniently when the next
order, which is, _Let fall_, is given.

The raising of the oars, and then letting them fall, all exactly
together, by the crew of a man-of-war's boat, makes a very pretty
spectacle.

The boys, however, knew nothing about this, for Marco, as it was all
very plain and familiar to him, did not realize the necessity of
making very minute explanations to such new recruits as those
that were under his command. Accordingly, when the order came to
_toss_, some of the boys sat still, looking at Marco, and not
knowing what to do; others raised their oars into the air, some one
way and some another; and Joseph, who was a little discomposed by the
rebuff he had met with, concluded that he would obey as literally as
possible, let what would come of it and he gave his oar a high toss
into the air. It fell at a short distance from him into the water,
went down for a moment out of sight, and then, shooting out for half
its length, it fell over upon its side and began to float away.

[Illustration: "TOSS."]

Hereupon ensued just such a scene of laughter shouts, and confusion
as might have been expected. All began to shout out exclamations and
orders, and to give directions how to proceed to recover the lost oar.
The boys whose oars were still left, thrust them confusedly into the
water, and began pushing, poking, and paddling with them, in order to
get the boat out to where Joseph's oar was floating. All this time
Forester remained on the bank, laughing at this specimen of nautical
command and subordination.

After a time the oar was recovered, and Marco, after much scolding and
vociferation, got his crew in order again. Forester said that he would
remain where he was, on the bank, until Marco had tried his oarsmen a
little. So Marco went on giving his orders. He succeeded finally in
getting the boys all in their seats again, with their oars in their
hands.

"Now, boys, mind," said he, "and I'll tell you exactly what to do.
_Attention!_ When I say _Attention_, you must all stop talking.
_Attention!_ Now you mustn't speak a word. You must hold your oars out
over the water and have them all ready, the handles in your hands, and
when I say _Give way_, then you must all begin to row, all together
exactly, so as to keep the stroke. You must keep the stroke with the
stroke-oarsman."

But the boys did not know who the stroke-oarsman was, and they began
clamorously to inquire, notwithstanding the injunction to silence
which they had received. Marco explained to them that the
stroke-oarsman was the one who sat nearest to him, that is, the one
farthest aft. As the oarsmen were all sitting with their backs toward
the bow of the boat, their faces were toward the stern, and therefore
the one who sat farthest aft could be seen by the rest. This is the
reason why the thwart which is farthest aft is made the seat of the
best oarsman, and the others are required to make their motions keep
time with his. For the oars in a boat that is fully manned are so
close together, that, unless they keep time exactly with each other,
the blades would cross and hit one another in utter confusion. But
if they keep the stroke, as they call it, exactly together, all goes
right. For this reason the oarsman who sits aft, by whose oar the
movements of all the other oars are to be regulated, is called the
stroke-oarsman.

The boys, however, knew nothing of all this. Marco contented himself
with giving one general direction to them, to keep the stroke with
the stroke-oarsman, and to begin when he gave the order, "_Give
way_." Accordingly, after all were silent again, the oars being
extended over the water, and Forester standing on the bank watching
the operation, Marco called out in the tone of command, "_Give
way!_"

The boys immediately began to row, all looking at the stroke-oarsman,
but failing entirely to keep time with him. The oars thumped against
each other, crossed each other, and made all manner of confusion.
Some could not get into the water, and others could not get out; and
Joseph's oar, which somehow or other came out too suddenly, while he
was pulling hard upon it, caused him to pitch backward off his seat
and tumble over into the bottom of the boat.

[Illustration: BAD ROWING.]

"_Oars!_" said Marco, "OARS!"

What Marco meant by _oars_ they did not know, so they paid no
attention to the command, but some stopped rowing in despair, while
others kept on, banging the blades of the oars against one another,
and plashing the water, but produced no effect whatever in respect to
propelling the boat. In the mean time the air was filled with shouts
of laughter and loud vociferations.

"_Oars!_" exclaimed Marco again, with the voice of a colonel at
the head of his regiment. "_Oars!_ Why don't you stop when I say
_Oars_?"

The boys began to stop, shouting to one another, "Stop!" "Stop!" In a
few minutes all was still again. The boys began to take their oars in
and one of them rose and said,

"Poh! this is all nonsense. You can't do any thing with oars. I'd
rather have one good paddle than all the oars in New York."

In fact, Marco himself began to despair. He uttered some impatient
exclamations, and tried to paddle the boat toward the shore. But he
found he was almost as awkward in managing a paddle, as the other boys
were in working oars. He succeeded, however, at last, in getting the
boat to the shore, and then he told the boys that they might as well
get out, for they could not do any thing at all about rowing.

"You don't seem to get along very well, Marco," said Forester: "what
is the matter?"

"Why, I havn't got any crew. They don't know any thing about it."

"It seems to me the fault is in the commander," said Forester.

"In me?" said Marco. "Why, I ordered them right, but they wouldn't
obey."

"Yes, your orders would have been right, if you had had a trained
crew. But you don't manage in the right way to teach raw recruits."

"I wish you would try, then, cousin Forester," said Marco.

"Well," said Forester, "I have no objection to try. Boys, are you
willing to have me for commander?"

"Yes, sir," "Yes, sir," said all the boys.

"I shall be a great deal more strict than Marco," said Forester. "So I
don't expect that you will like me. But I will try. I don't want quite
so many oarsmen to begin with; I should rather teach a few at a time.
Are there any of you that would like to come ashore, and let the rest
practice first?"

None of the boys moved. They all wished to practice first. This was
just as Forester expected.

"Very well," said Forester; "I know how I can thin out my crew. As
fast as I find that you don't obey my orders, I shall put you ashore."

"But suppose we don't understand?" said one of the boys.

"I shall explain fully beforehand what you are to do. And, Marco, you
must observe how I manage, and then you will know another time. When
you have got any thing to teach, the art consists in dividing the
lesson into a great many very short steps, and letting your pupils
take one at a time."

Forester knew nothing about managing a boat's crew until that day, but
he had observed very attentively all the orders which Marco had given,
and noticed their meaning, and thus he was prepared to manoeuver the
boat as far as Marco had gone in giving his orders. He accordingly
stepped into the boat and took Marco's place; while Marco himself
walked forward and took his place at the bow of the boat, saying that
he was going to be bowman.

"Marco," said Forester, "you say that when the order is
_Attention_, the crew must be silent; what is the order when I
want to give them liberty to talk again?"

"_Crew at ease_" said Marco.

"Very well. Now, boys, when I say _Attention_, you must be still,
look at me, hear all I say, and obey the orders as exactly as you can,
but ask no questions and give me no advice, nor speak to one another,
till I say, _Crew at ease_. Then you can talk again. Perhaps two
or three of you will disobey, and I have no objection to that, as I
should like some excuse for putting some of you ashore."

Forester smiled as he said this, and every boy determined that he
would not be the one to be sent ashore.

"_Attention!_" said Forester.

Forester then put his paddle into the water and paddled the boat out
into the pond a little way. While he was doing this, there was a dead
silence on board the boat. Not a boy spoke a word; and when, at last,
Forester stopped paddling, the boat floated on a little way gently
through the water, and not a sound was to be heard except the distant
barking of a dog on the opposite shore.

"_Crew at ease_," said Forester. The boys laughed, changed their
positions, and began to talk.

"I didn't get any of you ashore then," said Forester, "but I shall
succeed the next time, for I shall watch my opportunity when you are
all busy talking, and say, _Attention_, suddenly; then you will
not all stop in an instant, but some will go on just to finish their
sentence, and this will be disobeying the order, and so I shall get
you ashore."

The boys laughed; they thought that it was not very good policy for
Forester to give them this warning of his intention, as it put
them all upon their guard. Presently the word of command came very
suddenly--"_Attention!_" Every voice was hushed in an instant;
the boys assumed immediately an erect position, and looked directly
toward Forester.

"Joseph," said Forester, "when I give order _Toss_, you are
to take up your oar and raise the blade into the air, and hold it
perpendicularly, with the end of the handle resting on the thwart by
your side, on the side of the boat opposite to the one on which you
are going to row,--_Toss!_"

So Joseph raised his oar in the manner directed, the other boys
looking on.

"Let it down again," said Forester. Joseph obeyed.

"_Crew at ease_," said Forester.

Forester acted very wisely in not keeping the attention of the crew
very long at a time. By relieving them very frequently, he made the
distinction between being under orders and at ease a very marked
and striking one, so that the boys easily kept it in mind. In a few
moments he commanded attention again, with the same success as before.
He then ordered another boy to toss his oar, then another, and so on,
until he had taught the movement to each one separately. He gave to
each one such explanations as he needed, and when necessary he made
them perform the evolution twice, so as to be sure that each one
understood exactly what was to be done. Then Forester gave the command
for them all to toss together, and they did so quite successfully. The
oars rose and stood perpendicularly like so many masts; while Forester
paddled the boat slowly through the water. Then he directed the boys
to let the oars down again, gently, to their places along the thwarts,
and put the crew at ease.

The boys perceived now that they were making progress. They were
gaining slowly, it is true, but surely, and Marco saw where the cause
of his failure was. He had not realized how entirely ignorant all
these boys were of the whole mystery of managing an oar and of acting
in concert; and besides, he had not had experience enough as a
teacher, to know how short the steps must be made, in teaching any
science or art which is entirely new.

In the same slow and cautious manner, Forester taught the boys to let
the blades of their oars fall gently into the water, at the command,
"_Let fall_." He taught one at a time, as before, each boy
dropping the blades into the water and letting the middle of the oar
come into the row-lock, while he held the handle in his hands ready
to row. Then, without letting them row any, he ordered them to
_toss_ again; that is, to raise the oars out of the water and
hold them in the air, with the end of the handle resting upon the
thwart. He drilled them in this exercise for some time, until they
could go through it with ease, regularity, and dispatch. He then gave
the order, "_Crew at ease_," and let the boys rest themselves and
enjoy conversation.

While they were resting, Forester paddled them about. The boys asked
him when he was going to let them row, and Forester told them that
perhaps they had had drilling enough for one day, and if they chose he
would not require any thing more of them, but would paddle them about
and let them amuse themselves. But they were all eager to learn to
row. So Forester consented.

He taught them the use of the oar, in the same slow and cautious
manner by which his preceding instructions had been characterized. He
made one learn at a time, explaining to him minutely every motion. As
each one, in turn, practiced these instructions, the rest looked on,
observing every thing very attentively, so as to be ready when their
turn should come. At length, when they had rowed separately, he tried
first two, and then four, and then six together, and finally got them
so trained that they could keep the stroke very well. While they were
pulling in this manner, the boat would shoot ahead very rapidly. When
he wanted them to stop, he would call out, "_Oars_." This was
the order for them to stop rowing, after they had finished the stroke
which they had commenced, and to hold the oars in a horizontal
position, with the blades just above the water, ready to begin again
whenever he should give the command.

At first the boys were inclined to stop immediately, even if they were
in the middle of a stroke, if they heard the command, _oars_. But
Marco said that this was wrong; they must finish the stroke, he said,
if they had commenced it, and then all take the oars out of the water
regularly together. Forester was careful too to give the order always
between the middle and the end of a stroke, so that the obeying of the
order came immediately after the issuing of it.

By this means Forester could stop them in a moment, when any thing
went wrong. He would order, "_Give way_," and then the boys would
all begin to pull their oars. As soon as any of them lost the stroke,
or whenever any oars began to interfere, or any other difficulty or
accident occurred, he would immediately give the order, "_Oars_."
This would instantly arrest the rowing, before the difficulty became
serious. Then, after a moment's pause he would say, "_Give way_,"
again, when they would once more begin rowing all together. All this
time, he sat in the stern and steered the boat wherever they wanted to
go.

[Illustration: GOOD ROWING.]

Marco wished to have Forester teach the boys how to back water, and to
trail oars, and to put the oars apeak, and to perform various other
evolutions. But Forester was very slow in going on to new manoeuvers
before the old ones were made perfectly familiar. He accordingly spent
nearly an hour in rowing about the pond, up and down, to make the boys
familiar with the stroke. He found, as is, in fact, universally the
case with beginners in the art of rowing, that they were very prone to
row faster and faster, that is, to accelerate their strokes, instead
of rowing regularly, keeping continually the same time. They gradually
improved, however, in respect to this fault, and by the middle of the
afternoon Marco began to think that they were quite a good crew.
They practiced several new evolutions during the latter part of the
afternoon, and just before tea time they all went home, much pleased
with the afternoon's enjoyment, and with the new knowledge and skill
which they had acquired. They also planned another excursion the
following week.



Chapter X.

An Expedition.



Forester and Marco got their boat's crew well trained in the course of
a week or two, and one pleasant day in September they planned a long
expedition in their boat. The boys collected at the house of the owner
of the boat, at one o'clock. Two of them carried a large basket which
Forester had provided. It was quite heavy, and they did not know what
was in it; but they supposed that it was a store of some sort of
provisions for a supper, in case they should be gone so long as to
need a supper. Forester carried a hatchet also.

At the proper word of command, the boys got into the boat and took
their several stations. Marco took his place forward to act as bowman.
It is the duty of the bowman to keep a lookout forward, that the boat
does not run into any danger; and also, when the boat comes to land,
to step out first and hold it by the painter, that is, the rope which
is fastened to the bow, while the others get out. Marco had a pole,
with an iron spike and also an iron hook in the end of it, which he
used to _fend off_ with, as they called it, when the boat was in
danger of running against any obstacle. This was called a boat-hook.

"_Attention!_" said Forester, when the boys were all seated.

"_Toss!_"

Hereupon the boys raised the oars into the air, ready to let them down
into the water.

"_Let fall!_" said Forester. The oars all fell gently and
together into their places.

"_Give way!_" said Forester.

The boat began immediately to glide rapidly over the water, under the
impulse which the boys gave it in rowing. "_Crew at ease_," said
Forester.

So the boys went on rowing, but understood that they had liberty to
talk. One of them wished to know where Forester was going with them;
but Forester said it was entirely contrary to the discipline aboard
a man-of-war for the crew to ask the captain where they were going.
"Besides," said Forester, "though I could easily tell you, I think you
will enjoy the expedition more, to know nothing about it beforehand,
but to take every thing as it comes."

Forester steered in such a manner as to put the head of the boat
toward a bank at some distance from where they started, on which there
was a thick forest of firs and other evergreens, growing near the
water. When they got pretty near the land, he gave the order for
attention, that they might observe silence in going through whatever
manoeuvers were required here. The next order was, _Oars_. At
this the oarsmen stopped rowing, and held their oars horizontally over
the water. The boat in the mean time was gliding on toward the shore.

"_Aboard!_" said Forester.

The crew then gently raised their oars into the air, and passed them
over their heads into the boat, laying them upon the thwarts in their
proper position, along the middle of the boat. By this order the crew
supposed that Forester was going to land.

"Bear a hand, Mr. Bowman," said Forester, "and fend off from the
shore."

Forester, by means of his paddle, had steered the boat up to a log
which lay in the edge of the water, and Marco, at first fending off
from the log, to keep the boat from striking hard, and then holding on
to it with his hook, got it into a good position for landing, and held
it securely.

"_Crew ashore_," said Forester.

The crew, who had learned all these orders in the course of the
repeated instructions which Forester and Marco had given them, began
to rise and to walk toward the bow of the boat and to go ashore. Marco
landed first, and held the boat with his boat-hook, while the rest got
out. Forester then ordered Marco to make the boat fast, until they
were ready to embark again.

Forester then went up in the woods a little way, with his hatchet
in his hand, and began to look about among the trees. Finally, he
selected a small tree, with a round, straight stem, and began to cut
it down. The boys gathered around him, wondering what it could be for.
Forester smiled, and worked on in silence, declining to answer any of
their questions. Marco said it was for a mast, he knew, but when they
asked him where the sail was, he seemed perplexed, and could not
answer.

As soon, however, as the tree was cut down, it was evident that it was
not intended to be used as a mast, for Forester began at once to cut
it up into lengths of about two feet long. What could be his design,
the boys were utterly unable to imagine. He said nothing, but ordered
the boys to take these lengths, one by one, and put them into the
boat. There were five in all. Then he ordered the crew on board again.
Marco got in last. When all were seated, the order was given to shove
off, the oars were _tossed_--then _let fall_ into the water.
He ordered them to _back water_ first, by which manoeuver the
boat was backed off from the land into deep water. Then he commanded
them to _give way_, and at the same time bringing the stern of
the boat round by his paddle, the boat was made to shoot swiftly down
the stream.

The boat went rapidly forward along the shores of the pond, and
presently, on coming round a wooded point, the mills appeared in
sight. As they approached the mills, they kept pretty near the shore,
and at length landed just above the dam.

Forester ordered the crew ashore, at a place where there was a road
leading down to the water's edge. This road was made by the teams
which came down to get logs and lumber from the water. At Forester's
direction, the boys drew the bow of the boat up a little way upon the
land. Then he ordered the boys to take out the pieces of the stem of
the little tree, and he placed one of them under the bow as a roller.
The boys then took hold of the sides of the boat, three on each side,
each boy opposite to his own row-lock, while Marco stood ready to put
under another roller. The ascent was very gradual, so that the boat
moved up easily, and the boys were very much surprised and delighted
to see their boat thus running up upon the land.

It seemed to them an exercise of great power to be able to take so
large a boat so easily and rapidly up such an ascent upon the land.
They were aided to do it by two principles. One was the combination of
their strength in one united effort, and the other was the influence
of the rollers in preventing the friction of the bottom of the boat
upon the ground.

Presently the whole length of the boat was out of water and resting
on four rollers, which Marco had put under it, one by one, as it had
advanced. Forester would then call out, "_Ahead with her!_" when
the boys would move about two steps. Then Forester would give the
command, "_Hold on_," and they would stop. By this time one of
the rollers would come out behind, and Marco would take it up and
carry it round forward, and place it under the bow, and Forester
would then say, "_Ahead with her!_" again, and the boat would
immediately advance again up the acclivity.

[Illustration: THE PORTAGE.]

In a very few minutes the boat was thus rolled up into a sort of a
road, where the way was level. Here it went very easily. Presently it
began to descend, and soon the boys saw that Forester was taking a
sort of path which led by a gentle slope down to the water immediately
below the mill. They were very much pleased at this, for, as they had
had a great many excursions already on the mill-pond, they had become
familiar with it in all its parts, and they were much animated at the
idea of exploring new regions. In going down to the water on the lower
side of the mill, they had, of course, no exertion to make to draw the
boat, as its own weight was more than sufficient to carry it down upon
the rollers. They only had to hold it back to prevent its running down
too fast, and to keep it properly guided.

"It goes down pretty easy," said Marco; "but I don't see how you are
ever going to get it back again."

It was, in fact, a long and rather steep descent. The boys thought
that it would require far more strength than they could exercise, to
bring the boat _up_ such an inclination. Forester told them not
to fear. He said that a good commander never put too much upon his
men, or voluntarily got them into any difficulty without planning
beforehand a way to get out.

They soon got down to the water's edge again. Here, instead of the
broad and smooth pond which they had above the dam, they found a
stream eddying, and foaming, and flowing rapidly down between rocks
and logs. There was a bridge across the stream too, a short distance
below. The boys were a little inclined to be afraid to embark, in what
appeared to be a rather dangerous navigation, but they had confidence
in Forester, and so they readily obeyed when Forester ordered the crew
aboard.

"Now, Mr. Bowman," said Forester, "keep a sharp lookout ahead for
rocks and snags, and fend off well when there is any danger."

So Marco kneeled upon a small seat at the bow of the boat, and looked
into the water before him, while Forester propelled and guided the
boat with his paddle. They advanced slowly and by a very tortuous
course, so as to avoid the rocks and shallows, and at length, just
above the bridge, they came to a wider and smoother passage of water:
and here Forester ordered the oars out. There was only room for them
to take four or five strokes before they came to the bridge, and under
the bridge there was only a very narrow passage where they could go
through. This passage was between one of the piers and a gravel
bed. As they advanced toward it, Forester called out, "_Give way
strong!_" and all the boys pulled their oars with all their
strength, without, however, accelerating the strokes. This gave
the boat a rapid headway, and then Forester gave the order to
_trail_, when the boys simultaneously lifted the oars out of the
row-locks and let them drift in the water alongside of the boat. As
the boat was advancing very swiftly, the oars were immediately swept
in close to her sides, and thus were out of the way, and the boat
glided safely and swiftly through the passage, and emerged into a
broader sheet of smooth water beyond.

"_Recover!_" said Forester. The boys then, by a peculiar
manoeuver which they had learned by much practice, brought back their
oars into the row-locks, and raised the blades out of the water, so
as to get them into a position for rowing. "_Give way!_" said
Forester, and immediately they were all in motion, the boat gliding
swiftly down the stream.

After they had gone on in this way a few minutes, Forester ordered the
oars _apeak_, and put the crew at ease. When the oars are apeak,
they are drawn _in_ a little way, so that the handle of each oar
may be passed under a sort of cleat or ledge, which runs along on the
inside of the boat near the upper edge of it. This keeps the oar firm
in its place without the necessity of holding it, the handle being
under this cleat, while the middle of the oar rests in the row-lock.
Thus the oarsmen are relieved from the necessity of holding their
oars, and yet the oars are all ready to be seized again in a moment,
whenever it becomes desirable to commence rowing.

Meantime the boat slowly drifted down the stream. The water was here
deep and comparatively still, and the boys amused themselves with
looking over the sides into the depths of the water. They glided
noiselessly along over various objects,--now a great flat rock, now
a sunken tree, and now a bed of yellow sand. Every now and then,
Forester would order the oars out, and make the oarsmen give way for
a few strokes, so as to give the boat what they called steerage way,
that is, way through the water, so that holding the paddle in one
position or the other would steer it. In this way Forester guided the
boat in the right direction, keeping it pretty near the middle of the
stream.

This mill-stream, as has already been stated, emptied into the river,
and the boat was now rapidly approaching the place of junction. In a
few minutes more the river came into view. The boys could see it at
some distance before them, running with great rapidity by a rocky
point of land which formed one side of the mouth of the brook.

"Now, boys," said Forester, "is it safe for us to go out into that
current?"

"Yes," said Marco, "by all means,--let us go."

"Perhaps we shall upset in the rips," said some of the boys.

"No matter if we do," said Marco; "it is not deep in the rips, and of
course there is no danger."

"That is in our favor certainly," said Forester. "Whenever the current
sets strong, there it is sure to be shallow, so that if we upset
we should not be drowned; and where it is deep, so as to make it
dangerous for us to get in, it is always still, and thus there is no
danger of upsetting."

"What is the reason of that?" said one of the boys.

"The reason is given in this way," said Forester, "in the college
mathematics. The velocity of a stream is inversely as the area of the
section."

The boys did not understand such mathematical phraseology as this, and
so Forester clothed his explanation in different language. He said
that where the stream was shallow or narrow, the current must be more
rapid, in order to get all the water through in so small a space, but
where it is deep, it may move slowly.

Forester landed his crew upon the rocky point, where they had a very
pleasant view up and down the river. He proposed to them to have their
luncheon there, and to this they agreed. So they went back to the edge
of the rocks, where there was a little grove of trees, and they sat
down upon a log which had been worn smooth by the action of the water
in floods, and bleached by the sun.

There were plenty of dry sticks and slabs lying about upon the shore,
which Forester ordered the crew to collect in order to build a fire.
It was not cold, and they had no need of a fire for any purposes
of cooking, but a fire would look cheerful and pleasant, and they
accordingly made one. Forester had some matches in his pocket. Two of
the crew brought the basket from the boat, and when they had opened
it, they found an abundant store of provisions. There was a dozen or
more of round cakes, and a large apple-pie, which, as there were just
eight of them, gave forty-five degrees to each one. There was also a
jug of milk, and a silver mug, which Forester's mother had lent them
for the excursion, to drink out of.

The boys, whose appetites had been sharpened by their exertions in the
portage of the boat round the falls, and in rowing, did not cease
to eat until the provisions were entirely exhausted, and then they
carried the empty basket back to the boat. Soon after this, Forester
summoned what he called a council of war, to consider the question
whether they had better go down the river. He said he wanted their
true and deliberate judgment in the case. He did not wish them to say
what they would like, merely, but what they thought, on the whole,
was best. He told them that he should not be _governed_ by their
advice, but, after hearing all that they had to say, he should act
according to his own judgment.

"Then what's the use of asking us at all?" said Marco.

"Why, what you will say may modify my judgment. I did not say that I
shall decide according to my judgment as it is now, but as it will be
after I have heard what you will have to say. I shall be influenced
perhaps by your reasons, but I shall decide myself. That is the theory
of a council of war. The commander may be influenced by the arguments
of his subalterns, but he is not governed by their votes."

Forester then called upon each of the boys, in succession, to give his
opinion on the point. Marco was in favor of going down the river, but
all the rest, though they said that they should like to go very much,
thought it would not answer, as it would be almost impossible to get
the boat up again over the rips. After the consultation was concluded,
Forester said, "Well, boys, you have all given wise opinions except
Marco, and his is not wise. Now we'll go aboard the boat."

"_Crew aboard!_" said Forester. The other orders followed in
rapid succession: _Attention! Toss! Let fall! Backwater! Oars! Give
way!_ The boys considered it settled, on hearing what Forester had
said of the wisdom of their several opinions, that they were now going
back toward the mill; but how they were going to get the boat back
above the dam they did not know, though they did not doubt that
Forester had some good plan which he had not explained to them.
Instead, however, of turning the head of the boat up the stream,
Forester pointed it toward the river. They supposed that he was going
out to the edge of the river, and that then he would turn and come
back; but, to their utter amazement, he pushed boldly on directly into
the current, and then, putting his helm hard up and calling out to the
crew to give way strong, the boat swept round into the very center of
the stream and shot down the river over the rips like an arrow.

[Illustration: THE EXPEDITION.]

"Give way, boys, hearty," said Forester. "Give way strong."

The boys pulled with all their strength, and the boat went swifter
and swifter. Forester kept it in the middle of the current, where the
water was deepest, though even here it was very shallow. Marco, in
the mean time, who was stationed at the bows, kept a sharp lookout
forward, and gave Forester notice of any impending danger. They soon
got through the rips and came to the deep and still water below, where
the current was gentle and the surface smooth. Here Forester ordered
the oars apeak, and the crew at ease.

"We never shall get back in the world," said one of the boys; "forty
men couldn't row the boat up those rips."

"Let us try," said Forester. So he ordered the oars out again, and
put the boat under way. He brought her head round so as to point up
stream, and calling upon the crew to give way strong, he forced her
back into the rapid water. They went on a few rods, but long before
they reached the most rapid part, they found that with all their
exertions they could make no progress. The boat seemed stationary.
"_Oars_," said Forester. The boys stopped rowing, holding their
oars in the air, just above the water. Forester then, by means of his
paddle, turned the boat round again, saying, "Well, if we can't go up,
we can go down stream." He then ordered the crew to give way again,
and they began to glide along swiftly down the river.

The boys wondered how Forester was going to get back, but he told them
to give themselves no concern on that score. "That responsibility
rests on me," said he.

"But how came you to come down here," said Marco, "when you said my
advice wasn't good?"

"I said your opinion was not wise. The boys who advised me not to come
were wiser than you. They gave better advice, so far as they and you
understood the case. But I know something which you do not, as is
usual with commanders,--and therefore I came down. In view of all that
_you_ know, it would have been wisest to have gone back, but in
view of all that _I_ know, it is wisest to come down."

The curiosity of the boys was very much excited to know what it could
be that Forester knew which rendered coming down the river wise; but
Forester would make no explanations. He said that commanders were not
generally very communicative to their crews. In the mean time the boat
went on, sometimes shooting swiftly through the rapids, and sometimes
floating in a more calm and quiet manner on the surface of the stiller
water. In this way they went on more than a mile, enjoying the voyage
very highly, and admiring the varied scenery which was presented to
their view at every turn of the stream.

At one place the boys landed upon a small sandy beach under some
overhanging rocks. They amused themselves in climbing about the rocks
for a time, and then they were ordered aboard again, and sailed on.

Now it happened that the river, in the part of its course over which
this voyage had been performed, took a great circuit, and though they
had followed its course for more than a mile, they were now drawing
near to a place which was not very far from Forester's father's
house,--being about as much below it, as the place where the boat
belonged in the mill-pond was above it. As they approached the point
where the river turned again, Marco, who was looking out before, saw a
sort of landing, where there was a man standing, together with a yoke
of oxen. It was just sunset when they approached this spot. When they
arrived at it, the whole mystery was explained, for they found that
the man was James, who lived at Forester's father's, and the oxen were
his father's oxen. James had come down, under an appointment which
Forester had secretly made with him, with the oxen and a drag, and by
means of them he hauled the boat across to the mill-pond again, by
a back road which led directly across the pastures, and lanched it
safely again into the water close to the dwelling of its owner. So the
boys had, as it were, the pleasure of sliding down hill, without the
labor of drawing their sleds up again.

[Illustration: THE DRAG.]

Marco was very much pleased with this expedition. Forester told him
when they got home, that the Indians often carried their canoes around
falls, or from one river to another, and that such carrying-places
were called _portages_.



Chapter XI.

Lost In The Woods.



While Marco Paul was in Vermont, he and Forester had a remarkable
adventure in the woods. They got lost in fact, and for a time it
seemed quite doubtful how they were ever to find their way home. It
happened thus.

One morning in the fall of the year, Marco, walking along toward the
barn with James, asked James what he was going to do that day.

"I expect that I am going to gather apples," said James.

"Well," said Marco. "Are you going in the cart?"

"Yes," said James.

"And may I go with you?" asked Marco.

"Yes," said James.

"And help gather the apples? said Marco.

"Yes," said James.

"And drive the oxen a little way?" asked Marco.

"Yes," said James.

"Well." said Marco. "I will run and get my goad-stick."

Marco went toward the house intending to go in and get his goad-stick.
On his way he met his uncle. His uncle asked him whether James was out
in the barn. Marco said that he was, and his uncle then asked him to
go and request James to come to him. Marco did so, and he and James
then came along toward the house together.

Marco's uncle stood upon the step of the door.

"James," said he, "I was thinking that we ought to send for the
horses;--and the apples ought to be gathered too. Which is it best to
do?"

"I hardly know, sir," said James. "It is high time that the apples
were gathered, and yet we promised to send for the horses to-day."

"I can go and get the horses," said Marco,--"just as well as not.
Where is it?"

"Oh no," said his uncle. "It is ten or fifteen miles from here. Isn't
it, James?"

"Yes," said James, "by the road. I suppose it is about _four_
miles through the woods. I was intending to walk there, through the
woods, and then to come home round by the road. It is rather a rough
road for horses through the woods."

"Let cousin Forester and me go," said Marco. "I will go and ask him."

So Marco went and found Forester. When Forester heard of the plan
he was quite inclined to accede to it. He had been much engaged
in studying for some time, and had had very little exercise and
recreation, so that he was easily persuaded to undertake an
expedition. The plan was all soon agreed upon. The horses had been put
out to pasture at a farmer's up the river about twelve miles. In going
that twelve miles the river took a great turn, so that in fact the
farm where the horses were pastured was not, in a straight line,
more than four miles from Mr. Forester's house. But the intermediate
country was a desolate and almost impassable region of forests and
mountains. There was, indeed, a sort of footpath by which it was
possible for men to get through, but this path was dangerous, and in
fact almost impracticable for horses. So James had formed the plan of
walking through the woods by the path, and then of coming home by the
road, riding one of the horses and leading the other.

Forester and Marco concluded to adopt the same plan; except that in
coming home there would be just a horse a-piece for them to ride. They
put up some provisions to eat on the way, packing them in Marco's
knapsack. The knapsack, when it was ready, was strapped upon Marco's
back, for he insisted on carrying it. Forester consented to this
arrangement, secretly intending, however, not to allow Marco to carry
the load very far.

Forester asked James if there would be any difficulty about the way.
James said that there would not be. The path, though it was not an
easy one to travel, was very easy to find.

"You go on," said he, "along the back road about three quarters of a
mile, and then you will come to a small school-house on the left hand
side of the road, on a sort of hill. It is in the Jones district."

"What sort of a school-house is it?" asked Forester.

"It is a small school-house, with a little cupola upon the top of it,"
said James, "for a bell. It stands upon a knoll by the side of the
road. Just beyond it the main road turns to the right, and there is
a narrower road leading off to the left through a gate. You must go
through that gate and then follow the path into the woods."

"We can find it, I think," said Forester.

"Yes," said Marco, "I know the place very well."

Forester said he thought that they should find the way without any
difficulty, and so bidding his uncle and aunt good-bye, he and Marco
set out.

They went through the garden, and from the garden they passed out
through a small gate into the orchard. Marco wished to go this way in
order to get some apples. He chose two from off his favorite tree and
put them into the knapsack, and took another in his hand to eat by the
way. Forester did the same, only he put the two that he carried with
him, into his pockets.

From the orchard the travelers walked across a field and down into
the glen, and after crossing a brook upon some stepping-stones, they
ascended upon the other side, and presently climbing over a fence,
they came out into what James had called the back road. They walked
along upon this road, for about three quarters of a mile, until at
last they came in sight of the school-house. Marco spied it first.

"There," said Marco, "that is the school-house."

"How do you know that that is the one?" asked Forester.

"Oh, I know the Jones district very well," said Marco.

In New England the tract of country included within the jurisdiction
of a town, is divided into districts for the establishment and support
of schools. These districts are called school-districts, and each one
is generally named from some of the principal families that happen to
live in it. It happened that there were several families of the name
of Jones that lived in this part of the town, and so their district
was called the Jones district.

"How do you happen to know it?" said Forester.

"Oh, I came out here two or three times with Thomas Jones to set my
squirrel trap," said Marco. "There goes Thomas Jones now."

"Where?" asked Forester.

"There," said Marco, pointing along the road a little way.

Forester looked forward, and saw in the road before them a boy walking
toward the school-house, with his slate under his arm. Beyond the boy,
upon the knoll on the left side of the road, was the school-house
itself.

[Illustration: THE SCHOOL-HOUSE.]

The school-house was not far from the road, and there was a little
grove of trees behind it. Beyond the school-house, and almost directly
before them, Marco and Forester saw the road turning a little to the
left toward the gate.

"There is the gate," said Marco, "that we are to go through."

"Yes," said Forester, "that must be the one."

Forester and Marco walked on until they came to the school-house.
Thomas got to the school-house before them, and went in. Forester and
Marco passed on and went through the gate. They then went on beyond
the gate a little way till they came to a pair of bars. Marco took
down all but the topmost bar, and Forester, stooping down, passed
under. Marco attempted to do the same; but forgetting that he had a
knapsack upon his back, he did not stoop low enough, and gave his
knapsack such a knock as almost threw him down. Fortunately there was
nothing frangible inside, and so no damage was done. One of his apples
was mellowed a little; that was all.

The path led the travelers first across a rough and rocky pasture, and
then it suddenly entered a wood where every thing wore an expression
of wild and solemn grandeur. The trees were very lofty, and consisted
of tall stems, rising to a vast height and surmounted above with a
tuft of branches, which together formed a broad canopy over the heads
of the travelers, and produced a sort of somber twilight below. Birds
sang in plaintive notes on the tops of distant trees, and now and then
a squirrel was seen running along the ground, or climbing up the trunk
of some vast hemlock or pine.

"I hope that we shall not lose our way in these woods," said Forester.

"Oh, there is no danger of that," rejoined Marco. "The path is very
plain."

"It seems plain here," said Forester, "and I presume that there can
not be any danger, or James would have recommended to us to go the
other way."

"We shall come home the other way," said Marco. "I wonder if there are
any saddles. Twelve miles would be too far to ride bareback."

"Yes," said Forester, "there are saddles. I asked James about that."

The path which Forester and Marco were pursuing soon began to
ascend. It ascended at first gradually, and afterward more and more
precipitously, and at length began to wind about among rocks and
precipices in such a manner, that Marco said he did not wonder at all
that James said it would be a rough road for horses.

"I think it is a very rough road for boys," said Forester.

"Boys?" repeated Marco. "Do you call yourself boys."

"For _men_ then," said Forester.

"But _I_ am not a man," said Marco.

"Then I don't see how I can express my idea," said Forester.

Marco's attention was here diverted from the rhetorical difficulty in
which Forester had become involved, by a very deep chasm upon one side
of the path. He went to the brink of it and could hear the roaring of
a torrent far below.

"I mean to throw a stone down," said Marco. He accordingly, after
looking around for a moment, found a stone about as large as his head.
This stone he contrived to bring to the edge of the precipice and then
to throw it over. It went thundering down among the rocks and trees
below, while Marco stood upon the brink and listened to the sound of
the echoes and reverberations. He then got another stone larger than
the first, and threw that down; after which he and Forester resumed
their journey.

The path, though it was a very rough and tortuous one, was pretty
plain; and it is probable that the travelers would have found no
difficulty in following it to the end of their route, had it not been
for an occurrence which they had not at all anticipated, but which was
one, nevertheless, that has often taken place to confuse the steps of
mountain travelers and make them lose their way. This occurrence was a
fall of snow.

It was not late enough in the year for snow upon the lowlands, but
snow falls very early in the autumn upon the summits of mountains.
Marco and Forester had not anticipated stormy weather of any kind,
when they left home; for the wind was west and the sky was clear.
When, however, they had accomplished about one half of their journey,
large masses of fleecy clouds began to drive over the mountains,
and presently, all at once, it began to snow. Marco was extremely
delighted to see the snow falling. Forester was not so much pleased.
On the other hand, he looked somewhat concerned. He did not at first
think how the snow could do them any serious injury, but he seemed to
have an undefined sense of danger from it, and appeared uneasy. They
both, however, walked on.

The region through which the path led at the time when the snow came
on, was a tract of flat land on the summit of the mountainous range,
with small and scattered trees here and there upon it. The best thing,
probably, for the travelers to have done in the emergency would have
been to have turned round the moment it began to snow, and go back as
fast as possible by the way that they came, as long as they were sure
of the path, and then to wait until the fallen snow had melted. If
they found then that the snow did not melt, so that they could see the
path again, it would be better to return altogether, as their chance
of being able to follow the path back toward their home would be much
greater than that of pursuing it forward; for they might expect to
find some guidance, in going back, by their recognition of the place
which they had passed in ascending.

Forester, however, did not happen to think of this; and so when it
began to snow, his only immediate desire was to go forward as fast as
possible, so as to get into the woods again where he and Marco would
be in some measure under shelter.

Marco finding that Forester appeared somewhat anxious, began to feel
some sentiment of fear himself.

"Who would have thought," said he, "that we should have got caught out
in this snow-storm?"

"Oh, it is not a snow-storm," replied Forester. "It is only a little
snow flurry. It will be over in a few minutes."

"How do you know that it is not going to be a snow-storm?" asked
Marco.

"Because storms never come out of the west," replied Forester.

It snowed, however, faster and faster, and the ground soon began to be
entirely whitened. Forester pressed on, but he soon found himself at
a loss for his way. The air was so filled with the descending flakes,
that he could see only a very short distance before him. The view
of the forests and mountains was cut off on every side, and nothing
presented itself to the eye but the dim forms of the rocks and trees
which were near. These, too, were indistinct and shapeless. The ground
was soon entirely covered, and all hope of finding the path entirely
disappeared. Forester went back then a short distance, endeavoring to
retrace his steps. He followed the foot-prints a little way, but all
traces of them were soon obliterated. When he found that the steps
could no longer be seen, he went toward a tree which he saw rising
dimly at a little distance before him. The tree proved to be a large
hemlock, with wide-spreading branches. There was a place under this
tree where the ground was bare, having been sheltered from the snow by
the branches of the tree. There were some rocks too lying under this
tree. Forester walked up to them and sat down. Marco followed his
example.

"Well, Marco," said Forester, "we are really lost."

"And what are we going to do?" asked Marco, with a countenance of
great concern.

"The first thing is," said Forester, "to open the knapsack, and see
what there is inside that is good to eat."

So Forester took the knapsack off from his shoulders,--for he had
taken it from Marco some time before, and laying it upon a large
flat stone by his side, he began to open it, and to take out the
provisions.

Forester was afraid that he and Marco had got themselves into somewhat
serious difficulty, but he wished to teach Marco that in emergencies
of such a nature, it would do no good to give way to a panic, or to
unnecessary anxiety. So he assumed an unconcerned and contented air,
and made arrangements for the luncheon, just as if they had stopped
there to eat it of their own accord, and without being in any
difficulty whatever about the prosecution of the journey.

Marco, however, seemed to be quite uneasy.

"What are we going to do?" said he. "If we get lost in this
snow-storm, we shall have to stay in the woods perhaps all night."

"Yes," said Forester, "that we can do. We have done that before."

Forester here alluded to an occasion on which he and Marco had spent
the night in a hut in the woods, when traveling in Maine.

"But we had an axe then," said Marco, "to make a camp."

"Yes," replied Forester, "that is true. I don't think, however, that
we shall have to stay in the woods all night now. We have _three_
chances for avoiding it."

"What are the three?" said Marco.

"Why, in the first place," replied Forester, "we can stay where we are
until it stops snowing,--in fact it has almost stopped now. Then I
presume that the sun will come out, and in half an hour melt away all
the snow. Then we can find our path again, and go on."

"But I don't think it is certain that we can find our path again,"
said Marco.

"Nor do I," said Forester, "but there's a chance of it. I did not say
that we had three certainties, but three chances."

"Well," said Marco; "go on; what are the other two?"

"If we can not find the path," said Forester, "either because the snow
does not melt, or for any other reason, then we can remain where we
are until night, and the people, finding that we do not come home,
will send up for us."

"And how can they find us?" asked Marco.

"Why, they will come up the path, of course, and we can not be very
far from the path, for we only lost it a few minutes before we came
here. Of course they will come up very near to this place;--and they
will come shouting out, every few minutes, as loud as they can, and so
we shall hear them."

"Yes," said Marco, "I see; that is a pretty good chance."

"The third chance for us," said Forester, "is to go down into the
first glen or valley that we can find, and then we shall probably come
to a stream. Then we can follow the stream down to the river."

"How do you know that it goes to the river?" asked Marco.

"All mountain streams do, of course," said Forester. "They go down
wherever they can find a valley or a hollow,--joining together and
taking in branches as they proceed,--until they get down into the
level country, and then they flow to the nearest river, and so to the
sea. Now I know that the river takes a bend around this mountainous
tract, and almost surrounds it, and all the streams from it must flow
into the river without going very far. We could follow one down,
though we should probably find the way very rough and difficult."

"Let us try it," said Marco.

This plan was decided upon, and so, when the snow squall was entirely
over and the sun had come out Marco and Forester, taking their
departure from the great tree and guiding their course by the sun,
the travelers set out, proceeding as nearly in a straight line as
possible, intending to go on in that manner until they should come to
some stream, and then to follow the stream down to the river. The plan
succeeded perfectly well. They soon descended into a valley, where
they found a little brook flowing over a bed of moss-covered stones.
They followed this brook down for about a mile, when they came to a
junction between the brook that they were following and another one.
After this junction of course the stream was larger, and in many
places they found it difficult to get along. The way was encumbered
with bushes, rocks, and fallen trees, and in one place the stream
flowed in a foaming torrent through the bottom of a deep chasm, with
sides rising directly out of the water. Here the travelers were
obliged to find a way at a distance from the brook--guiding
themselves, however, by the sound of its roaring. After passing the
chasm, they got back to the stream again.

They came out into the open country about one o'clock, and found to their
great joy that they were very near the place where the horses were
pastured. The horses were all ready for them, and Forester and Marco
mounted them immediately, and set out on their return home.

It was very pleasant riding along at their ease on horseback, after all
the dangers and fatigues that they had encountered. A part of the way
the road which they took lay along the shore of the river. Marco enjoyed
this part of the ride very much indeed.

They reached home about sunset, with an excellent appetite for supper.
Marco was very enthusiastic in his manner of giving his aunt Forester
an account of his adventures, and he said, in conclusion, that he would
just as lief get lost in the woods as not. It was good fun.





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