“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.