So those bound up-river pitched their poling-boats and shod their poles with iron, and those bound down caulked their scows and barges and shaped spare sweeps with axe and drawing-knife. Jacob Welse loafed and joyed in the utter cessation from work, and Frona joyed with him in that it was good. But Baron Courbertin was in a fever at the delay.
From very far away, borne on the stillness of the night, they could hear the rhythmic beat of several paddle-blades. Crawling upon his hands and knees, Spurling joined him. "What is it?" he asked. "Is it Eyelids again?" Granger pointed up-river. "They're coming from the west," he whispered, "and there are at least four men by the sound of the blades." "What men come from the west at this season?
"Presently Jake listened and said, `By God, that's lucky! and we heard a steamer coming up-river and presently we saw her coming round the point with a couple of wool-barges in tow. We got Bogan aboard and got some clothes on him, and took him ashore at Bourke to the new hospital. The doctors did all they knew, but Bogan was blind for life.
We passed by several fields where haymaking was going on, but Dick, and especially Clara, were so jealous of our up-river festival that they would not allow me to have much to say to them.
In the late afternoon the Mary Rebecca was launched, and preparations were finished for the start up-river next morning. Charley and Ole intently studied the evening sky for signs of wind, for without a good breeze our project was doomed to failure.
He did not like this man. "There ain't much doing in this camp; it's a pretty poor place," he said, guardedly. "I'll put in with you, from its looks," agreed the other. "It's got too many soldiers to be worth a damn." He snarled this bitterly, with a peculiar leering lift of his lip, as if his words tasted badly. "Most of the boys are going up-river," said Gale.
Prepare all things at once understand, at once!" Ned Trent waited to hear no more, but sauntered from the room whistling gayly a boatman's song. His point was gained. Outside, the long Northern twilight with its beautiful shadows of crimson was descending from the upper regions of the east. A light wind breathed up-river from the bay. The Free Trader drew his lungs full of the evening air.
There were corn and cotton-planters from the up-country, on their return home, and storekeepers from the up-river towns; boatmen who, in jean trousers and red flannel shirts, had pushed a "flat" two thousand miles down stream, and who were now making the back trip in shining broadcloth and snow-white linen.
Up-river, great new works of I know not what kind stood like a bastion against the plain; and in between ran these oldest bits of Lynn, somnolescent and refreshing permanent. The lanes up from the Ouse when I landed I found to be of a slow and natural growth, with that slight bend to them that comes, I believe, from the drying of fishing-nets.
A blue-jay perched on the roof of their house and began his harsh complaint to an unheeding world, into which a squirrel presently broke with vociferous reply. An up-river breeze rustled the maple leaves, laid cooling fingers from salt water on Hollister's face, all sweaty from his labor with the paddle. He could see beauty where Doris saw it.