The Narrative of Gordon Sellar Who Emigrated to Canada in 1825 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 176 pages of information about The Narrative of Gordon Sellar Who Emigrated to Canada in 1825.
before their hard work in making a passage past the rapids.  I went with the mistress to a house that was not far away for milk.  A smiling woman met us at the door and asked us inside; the house was clean and neat.  We tried to make her understand what we wanted but failed until I put the pail between my knees and imitated milking a cow.  She laughed heartily and by signs made us know she did not have a cow.  Stepping to the fireplace she dipped a tin into a big pot that simmered in a corner and handed it to the mistress.  It was soup.  Holding out some money, she made signs to fill the pail.  Having done so she picked out five coppers from the money offered, and bade good-by with many a smile and nod.  The soup proved to be fine, just one drawback, its flavor of garlic.  ’They use no split peas to make their pea-soup here,’ remarked Mrs Auld, ’and it is an improvement.’  ‘No, no,’ interjected Treffle, ’soup be good because all time kept boiling; pot by the fire Sunday to Sunday.’  The chill in the morning air made the hot soup grateful.


Our curiosity as to how our boat was to get up the rapid was soon satisfied.  Along both sides of the boat ran a stout plank, to which were securely fastened a row of cleats, about two feet apart.  The crew gathered at the bow, each man holding a long pole with an iron point.  On the order being given by the conductor, who held the helm, two men stepped out and took their place on the planks, one on each side, and dropped the iron points of their poles into the river, until they struck bottom.  Then, pressing the end they held against their shoulders, pushed with all their might.  As the boat yielded to their thrust, they stepped backward down their planks, making room for another man in front, until there were four on each side of the boat, pushing with their utmost strength.  As the men who first got on the planks reached the end, they jumped aside and made their way to the bow to begin anew the same operation, of dropping their poles into the water, tucking the head of them into the hollow of their shoulders, and, leaning forward, push as they did before, receding step by step, the cleats giving the needed purchase to their feet.  The current was swifter than any millstream, yet the boat was pushed slowly up until we reached the entrance to a canal, smaller than that at Lachine, for it was only 2-1/2 feet deep and so narrow that the crew jumped it when they wished to cross.  It served the purpose, however, of enabling the boat to pass the worst part of the rapid, where it foamed in great billows.  Quitting the canal the swift current was again met and the setting poles again put into use.  Our lads were eager to try their hands, but a few minutes was enough, their shoulders being too soft for the work.  Those of the crew were calloused almost like bone, but even to them it was hard work, for the sweat rolled down their faces, as they struggled along the planks bent double. 

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The Narrative of Gordon Sellar Who Emigrated to Canada in 1825 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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