Wake-Robin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 212 pages of information about Wake-Robin.
and a divided council.  But something must be done.  It was then mid-afternoon, and the prospect of spending another night on the mountains, without food or drink, was not pleasant.  So we moved down the ridge.  Here another line of marked trees was found, the course of which formed an obtuse angle with the one we had followed.  It kept on the top of the ridge for perhaps a mile, when it disappeared, and we were as much adrift as ever.  Then one of the party swore an oath, and said he was going out of those woods, hit or miss, and, wheeling to the right, instantly plunged over the brink of the mountain.  The rest followed, but would fain have paused and ciphered away at their own uncertainties, to see if a certainty could not be arrived at as to where we would come out.  But our bold leader was solving the problem in the right way.  Down and down and still down we went, as if we were to bring up in the bowels of the earth.  It was by far the steepest descent we had made, and we felt a grim satisfaction in knowing we could not retrace our steps this time, be the issue what it might.  As we paused on the brink of a ledge of rocks, we chanced to see through the trees distant cleared land.  A house or barn also was dimly descried.  This was encouraging; but we could not make out whether it was on Beaver Kill or Mill Brook or Dry Brook, and did not long stop to consider where it was.  We at last brought up at the bottom of a deep gorge, through which flowed a rapid creek that literally swarmed with trout.  But we were in no mood to catch them, and pushed on along the channel of the stream, sometimes leaping from rock to rock, and sometimes splashing heedlessly through the water, and speculating the while as to where we should probably come out.  On the Beaver Kill, my companions thought; but from the position of the sun, I said, on the Mill Brook, about six miles below our team; for I remembered having seen, in coming up this stream, a deep, wild valley that led up into the mountains, like this one.  Soon the banks of the stream became lower, and we moved into the woods.  Here we entered upon an obscure wood-road, which presently conducted us into the midst of a vast hemlock forest.  The land had a gentle slope, and we wondered by the lumbermen and barkmen who prowl through these woods had left this fine tract untouched.  Beyond this the forest was mostly birch and maple.

We were now close to settlement, and began to hear human sounds.  One rod more, and we were out of the woods.  It took us a moment to comprehend the scene.  Things looked very strange at first; but quickly they began to change and to put on familiar features.  Some magic scene-shifting seemed to take place before my eyes, till, instead of the unknown settlement which I had at first seemed to look upon, there stood the farmhouse at which we had stopped two days before, and at the same moment we heard the stamping of our team in the barn.  We sat down and laughed heartily over our good luck.  Our desperate venture had resulted better than we had dared to hope, and had shamed our wisest plans.  At the house our arrival had been anticipated about this time, and dinner was being put upon the table.

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Wake-Robin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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