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Richard Markham.

Colonial Days : being stories and ballads for young patriots ; as recounted by five boys and five girls ; in Around the yule log, Aboard the Mavis, On the edge of winter online

. (page 30 of 30)
Online LibraryRichard MarkhamColonial Days : being stories and ballads for young patriots ; as recounted by five boys and five girls ; in Around the yule log, Aboard the Mavis, On the edge of winter → online text (page 30 of 30)
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from the rowlocks.

The crowd of urchins shouted with glee.

" Hang your legs over your shoulders," said one.

Tom came once more to the rescue. " Stretch your legs out
straight before you," he called.

The man did so, and pulled three or four strokes beautifully.
" I've got the hang of the old thing this time," they heard him
say to himself. The next minute he caught a crab, and went
over backward, all that was left to tell his whereabouts being a
pair of thick raw-hide shoes which stuck up in the air. One of
the oars took advantage of the occasion to leap overboard again.
By the time he had regained his seat, it was beyond his grasp ;
but, by reaching after it with the other, he at last managed to
regain it.

All this time they could hear a perfect volley of shouts from



A NEW WAY TO ROW. 697

the tow, which was steadily moving on, each moment taking it
further and further away. The figure of the man gesticulating
wildly could still be seen, though distance was beginning to
soften down the edges of his wrath.

The toiling oarsman gave no heed to his shouts : he had
conceived a new plan. Wedging one oar firmly so that it could
not elude him, he seized the other, and pulled with all his
might. The boat spun around vigorously. Then, laying down
that oar, he seized the other. The boat spun around as actively
the other way. The current in the mean while had carried him
some twenty feet on during this operation, so that when he
stopped to take breath, and saw that the distance between him
and the pier had widened, he made up his mind that this was
the proper line of action for him ; so, seizing again his single
oar, he made the boat spin around as actively as before.

Just at this moment Mr. Longwood, who had hurried to the
station as soon as they landed, and had witnessed none of these
feats of the oar, came hurrying down.

" Come, boys," he called, " lose no time. An express-train
is due in just three minutes. There is the whistle now."

They hurried after him, and reached the station platform just
as the long train came to a halt.

" I am sure I saw Carrie's face in the window of that second
drawing-room car, as it passed," said Tom. " Let's get in that
car, and see."

Sure enough : they found Mrs. Longwood and the girls, and
plenty of unoccupied seats ; and soon they were all chatting
.together as busily as if they had never been parted. " We



698 FROM RAGE TO DESPAIR.

drove to Newburgh," said Carrie, " and crossed the river, taking
the train there."

A short hour brought our party to the city ; and, with many
regrets, they parted. What became of the man in the boat,
however, I cannot tell you. The last they saw of him, as they
looked back, he was still pulling at a single oar. They passed
the tow a mile or so farther on. The man was still standing on
the deck. His rage had apparently changed to the apathy of
despair. He was not shouting or gesticulating now, but looking
back with a stony gaze to his boat, which was still spinning
around like a tee-to-tum in the widening distance.



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Online LibraryRichard MarkhamColonial Days : being stories and ballads for young patriots ; as recounted by five boys and five girls ; in Around the yule log, Aboard the Mavis, On the edge of winter → online text (page 30 of 30)