THE SNOW FORT, OR GOOD FOR EVIL
The next morning, after breakfast, Oliver proposed to Rollo, that they should go down to the pond, and build a snow fort. During the night, there had been a slight thaw, accompanied with some rain. The body of snow on the ground had become softened and adhesive by the moisture, and was, as Jonas said, “in prime condition for all sorts of snow work.”
Oliver borrowed of Jonas the large wooden snow-shovel, with a blade nearly two feet square, used in cutting out the paths around the house. Rollo assisted him to strap it on the hand-sled, together with some boards, two iron shovels, and a hoe.
“The Conqueror”—for that was the name of his sled—“will have to be captive to-day,” said Oliver, as he bound the load upon the sled, which he and Rollo were going to drag down to the pond.
“You had better take the garden-reel and line,” said Jonas to Oliver, “if you intend to make a good fort. You will want to stretch your line so as to make the sides square, and to guide you in cutting out your blocks of snow.”
“O, we don’t want to be so particular as that,” said Oliver.
“But I thought,” said Jonas, “that your plan last evening was, to do your work in a workmanlike manner. If you want a substantial fort to last all winter, you must lay a good foundation, and cut your courses true, so that they will rest firmly one upon the other,—and especially if you are going to have a roof.”
“We mean to have a roof,” said Rollo, “or we cannot illuminate it in the evening.”
“Well, then,” said Jonas, “I advise you to take the line, and build according to rule.”
Oliver had not forgotten what Jonas had often told him about doing his work like a workman.
“What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well” Jonas used to say.
So Oliver went to get the reel and line.
While he was gone to the tool-house, Rollo thought of Franco Ney, and began to call aloud, “Franco! Franco!”
Franco did not come.
“Franco! Franco—o! Franco—o! Where is Franco?” said Rollo; “we can’t go without him.”
“He won’t mind you,” said Oliver, as he came running back.
“You call him, then,” said Rollo.
Oliver whistled the dog call, and in a moment, Franco came running from the poultry yard with a bone in his mouth, which he had been gnawing for a breakfast. At that moment, Nathan came running out of the door, with a luncheon in his hand for them all. The farmer’s wife had put up in a paper an apple turn-over and a nut-cake for each of the boys, as they were going on so important an expedition.
Very soon, every thing was ready, and they started for the scene of operations, eager for their work, Oliver and Rollo drawing the sled, and Nathan and Franco following on behind.