When he heard of Mark’s bravery, he placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, “My son, I am proud of you.”
As they went in and entered the sitting-room, they found Mr. March and Frank sitting together on the sofa, talking earnestly.
“I hope you will excuse my leaving you and entering your house so unceremoniously, Mr. Elmer,” said Mr. March, rising and bowing to Mrs. Elmer; “but when your little girl said a boy named Frank March was in here I felt sure he was my son. It is he; and now that I have found him, I don’t ever intend to lose him again.”
“That’s right,” said Mr. Elmer, heartily. “In this country boys are too valuable to be lost, even if they do turn up again like bad pennies. Master Frank, you must hurry and get well, for in his work here your father will need just such a valuable assistant as I am sure you will make.”
“Now, wife, how about something to eat? I am almost hungry enough to eat an alligator, and I expect our friend March would be willing to help me.”
Aunt Chloe had been busy ever since the travellers arrived, and supper was as ready for them as they were for it. After supper, when they were once more gathered in the sitting-room, Mr. Elmer said, “I got a charter granted me while I was in Tallahassee—can any of you guess for what?”
None of them could guess, unless, as Mark suggested, it was for incorporating “Go Bang,” and making a city of it in opposition to Wakulla.
“It is to establish and maintain a ferry between those portions of the town of Wakulla lying on opposite sides of the St. Mark’s River,” said Mr. Elmer.
“A ferry?” said Mrs. Elmer.
“A ferry?” said Ruth.
“A ferry?” said Mark; “what sort of a ferry steam-power, horse-power, or boy-power?”
“I expect it will be mostly boy-power,” said Mr. Elmer, laughing. “You see I kept thinking of what Mr. Bevil told us last Sunday, that what Wakulla needed most was a bridge and a mill. I knew we couldn’t build a bridge, at least not at present; but the idea of a ferry seemed practicable. We have got enough lumber to build a large flat-boat, there are enough of us to attend to a ferry, and so I thought I’d get a charter, anyhow.”
Mark could hardly wait for his father to finish before he broke in with,
“Speaking of mills, father, your ferry will be the very thing to bring people over to our mill.”
“Our mill!” repeated his father. “What do you mean?”
“Why, Jan and I discovered an old mill about half a mile up the river, while we were out looking for cedar. It’s out of repair, and the dam is partly broken away; but the machinery in it seems to be pretty good, and the wheel’s all right. I don’t believe it would take very much money to fix the dam; and the stream that supplies the mill-pond is never-failing, because it comes from a big sulphur spring. We found the man who owns