Although it was winter when the boys were taking this ride, yet the sun was shining in a very warm and pleasant manner, and the snow was every where softening in the fields and melting in the roads, indicating that the spring was coming on.
There was a little stream of water, coming down the hill in the middle of the road, and forming a long pool at the bottom. Jonas turned his horse to one side, to avoid this pool of water, and waited until Oliver came up.
“Well, Oliver,” said he,—“tired of the mill already?”
“Why, no,” said Oliver, “only I thought that, on the whole, I’d rather go with you. I didn’t think that you were going to be gone so long.”
“It is about two miles,” said Jonas.
“Where are you going?” said Oliver.
“O, to see about some logs. I thought you heard your father tell me to go and see about some logs.”
“What about the logs?” said Oliver.
“Why, to make the boards of, for the barn.”
“O,” replied Oliver, “I didn’t know that.”
“Yes,” continued Jonas, “when we want boards, we have to go to somebody who owns some pine timber in the woods, and get him to cut down some of them, and haul them to the mill. Then they saw them up, and make boards.”
“What mill?” said Oliver.
“At that saw-mill near the carding-mill. The mill down in the village, you know, is a grist-mill.”
By this time, the boys had got to the top of the hill, and they got into the sleigh, and rode along. Presently, they came to a place where Jonas was going to turn off, into a sort of by-road which led away into the woods, where the pine-trees grew. The man that owned the trees lived pretty near, in a farm-house.
“Is that the road that we are going in?” asked Oliver.
“Yes,” said Jonas, “but it does not look very promising.”
The road was filled up nearly full of snow. It had been hard, so that they could travel upon it pretty well; but the warm sun had softened the snow so much, that the horses’ feet sunk down into it, in some places, very deep. However, Jonas went along as well as he could.
“Let us get out and walk, Jonas,” said Oliver.
“No,” said Jonas, “that will not do much good; for it is the weight of the horse himself, that makes him sink into the snow, not the weight of the sleigh.”
So the boys both continued to ride in the sleigh. They soon came into the woods, where, the ground being sheltered by the trees above, the snow lay more evenly upon it; and, though the horse slumped a little, yet he got along very comfortably.
At length, however, they came out of the woods into an opening. The road went along under a high bank, with a deep brook on the other side. The wind, during the storms in the winter, had blown in over this bank, and filled up the road entirely.