Migwan finished her story, copied it carefully on foolscap and sent it away to a magazine, confident that in a very short time she would behold it in print, and the payment she would receive for it would keep her in spending money throughout the school year. So with a light and merry heart she set out for Gladys’s house on Saturday morning, where the girls were all to meet for the outing. It was one of those dream-like days in late autumn, when the earth, still decked in her brilliant garments, seems to lie spellbound in the sunshine, as if there were no such thing as the coming of winter.
The girls, clad in blue skirts and white middies and heavy sweaters, were whirled down to the dock in the Evans’s automobile, with the Keewaydin tied upright at the back. The launch was waiting for them, at one of the big boat docks, sandwiched in between two immense lake steamers. Nothing could have been a greater contrast to their trip up the Shadow River the summer before than this excursion. On that other trip they had been the only living beings on the horizon, and nature was supreme everywhere, but here they were fairly engulfed by the works of man. The tiny craft nosed her way among giant steamers, six-hundred-foot freighters, coal barges, lighters, fire boats, tugs, scows, and all the other kinds of vessels that crowd the river-harbor of a great lake port. Viewed from below, the steel structure of the viaduct over the river stretched out like the monstrous skeleton of some prehistoric beast. Whistles shrieked deafeningly in their ears and trains pounded jarringly over railroad bridges. A jack-knife bridge began to descend over their very heads. Over where the new bridge was being constructed men stood on slender girders high in the air, catching red-hot rivets that were being tossed them, while an automatic riveting hammer filled the air with its nerve-destroying clamor. Everywhere was bustle and confusion, and noise, noise, noise.