D'Ri and I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 195 pages of information about D'Ri and I.

“Ain’t much ‘fraid o’ their tumblin’ on us,” said he.  “They ’re withed so they ’ll stick together.”

We got to another cave under the logs, at the water’s edge, after an hour of crawling and prying.  A side of the raft was in the water.

“Got t’ dive,” said D’ri, “an’ swim fer daylight.”

A long swim it was, but we came up in clear water, badly out of breath.  We swam around the timber, scrambling over a dead cow, and up-shore.  The ruined raft was torn and tumbled into a very mountain of logs at the edge of the water.  The sun was shining clear, and the air was still.  Limbs of trees, bits of torn cloth, a broken hay-rake, fragments of wool, a wagon-wheel, and two dead sheep were scattered along the shore.  Where we had seen the whirlwind coming, the sky was clear, and beneath it was a great gap in the woods, with ragged walls of evergreen.  Here and there in the gap a stub was standing, trunk and limbs naked.

“Jerushy Jane Pepper!” D’ri exclaimed, with a pause after each word.  “It’s cut a swath wider ’n this river.  Don’t b’lieve a mouse could ‘a’ lived where the timber ’s down over there.”

Our sweepers and the other sections of the raft were nowhere in sight.

III

We left the logs, and walked to Cornwall, and took a sloop down the river.  It was an American boat, bound for Quebec with pipe-staves.  It had put in at Cornwall when the storm began.  The captain said that the other sections of our raft had passed safely.  In the dusk of the early evening a British schooner brought us to.

“Wonder what that means?” said the skipper, straining his eyes in the dusk,

A small boat, with three officers, came along-side.  They climbed aboard, one of them carrying a lantern.  They were armed with swords and pistols.  We sat in silence around the cockpit.  They scanned each of us carefully in the light of the lantern.  It struck me as odd they should look so closely at our hands.

“Wha’ d’ ye want?” the skipper demanded.  “This man,” said one of them, pointing to D’ri.  “He’s a British sailor.  We arrest him—­”

He got no farther.  D’ri’s hand had gone out like the paw of a painter and sent him across the cockpit.  Before I knew what was up, I saw the lank body of D’ri leaping backward into the river.  I heard a splash and a stroke of his long arms, and then all was still.  I knew he was swimming under water to get away.  The officers made for their boat.  My blood was up, and I sprang at the last of them, giving him a hard shove as he was climbing over, so that he fell on the boat, upsetting it.  They had business enough then for a little, and began hailing for help.  I knew I had done a foolish thing, and ran forward, climbing out upon the bowsprit, and off with my coat and vest, and dived into the dark water.  I swam under as long as I could hold my breath, and then came up quietly, turning on my back in the quick current, and floating so my face only was above water.  It had grown dark, and I could see nothing but the glimmer of the stars above me.  My boots were heavy and dragged hard.  I was going fast with the swift water, for at first I had heard a great hubbub on the schooner; but now its voices had grown faint.  Other sounds were filling my ear.

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D'Ri and I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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