The ropes of the pulley-wheels were made fast to the bow and stern of the boat, and the forward one was drawn up short, while the other was left long enough to allow the boat to swing at an angle to the current. Then the boat was shoved off, and, without any poling, was carried by the force of the current quickly and steadily to the other side.
A tin horn was attached by a light chain to each post, the ferry was formally delivered to Master Frank March, and it was declared open and ready for business.
The great mill picnic.
The rates of ferriage were fixed at twenty-five cents for a team, fifteen cents for a man on horseback, ten cents for a single animal, and five cents for a foot-passenger. Two cards, with these rates neatly printed on them by Ruth in large letters, were tacked up on the anchorage posts, so that passengers might not have any chance to dispute with the ferryman, or “superintendent of ferries,” as he liked to be called.
Leaving him in charge of the boat—for he was not yet strong enough for more active work—and leaving Mr. March at work upon the house, Mr. Elmer, Mark, Jan, and four colored men, taking the mules with them, set out bright and early on Tuesday morning for the mill, to begin work on the dam.
They found the pond empty, and exposing a large surface of black mud studded with the stumps of old trees, and the stream from the sulphur spring rippling along merrily in a channel it had cut for itself through the broken portion of the dam. While two men were set to digging a new channel for this stream, so as to lead it through the sluice-way, and leave the place where the work was to be done free from water, the others began to cut down half a dozen tall pines, and hew them into squared timbers.
A deep trench was dug along the whole length of the broken part of the dam for a foundation, and into this was lowered one of the great squared timbers, forty feet long, that had six mortice-holes cut in its upper side. Into these holes were set six uprights, each ten feet long, and on top of these was placed as a stringer, another forty-foot timber. To this framework was spiked, on the inside, a close sheathing of plank. Heavy timber braces, the outer ends of which were let into mud-sills set in trenches dug thirty feet outside the dam, were sunk into the stringer, and the work of filling in with earth on the inside was begun. In two weeks the work was finished; the whole dam had been raised and strengthened, the floodgates were closed, and the pond began slowly to fill up.
In the mean time the saw-mill machinery had been bought, the frame for the saw-mill had been cut and raised, and Mr. March, having finished the repairs on the house, was busy setting up the machinery and putting it in order.