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Lake to Lake
FROM LAKE TO LAKE;
A TRIP ACROSS COUNTRY.
"There is a time to play!
'Tis when our toil is o'er."—EDDY.
WE MAKE A START.
OUR season had ended, and the jaunty little steamer "Welokennebacook," which had done such excellent service on the Richardson Lakes during the summer, was now securely moored at the mouth of the river, with her bow toward the rapids, while two large "driving "anchors from bow and stern held her in position. To make assurance doubly sure we had run a long, heavy cable from each side of the boat, amidship, to trees on either point that formed the little cove in which she lay.
After taking a last look around to satisfy ourselves that nothing remained to be done, we pulled to the landing, and drew the yawl carefully up on shore beyond the reach of any sea, and turning it. bottom up covered it over with boards, that were held in position by heavy stones.
As we left the lake shore we took one more look at the gallant little craft floating at anchor, and a momentary feeling of sadness stole over me, as I thought of the pleasant hours I had passed on her deck that summer, and how seven long months must come and go before I should see her again.
Her deserted appearance also touched me. The flagstaffs had been taken down and housed, the smoke-stack and exhaust-pipe no longer appeared above the engine-room, and all the windows and doors had been covered with boards, as protection against the wind and hail and snow that were to buffet her through the winter.
"She looks as if the life had all gone out of her," remarked Jack, the engineer, who was with me.
"That is a fact," I replied. "Do you suppose she will stay there safely through the winter?"
"Why not? The ice won't freeze very thick there on account of the current."
"I was not thinking of the ice, but of the wind. There are such heavy blows here in winter."
"Oh, I guess she will be all right, Captain. But if we are going to get to camp before dark, we had better be moving."
Leaving the lake shore we struck into the road, and went up to the Upper Dam Camp, where we were stopping, and had our supper; and, as we intended to make an early start the next morning, we went to bed soon after eating. We had put in a hard day's work and we slept soundly. Indeed it seemed I had been in bed but an hour or two when I was awakened by the cook pounding on my door and telling me it was five o'clock.
Crushing the strong inclination I had to turn over and take another nap I arose quickly and dressed, and went out-doors to take a look at the weather. It bid fair to be a pleasant day, and as I turned to go in I descried Jack returning from the dam with a couple of nice trout. I waited for him to come along.
"Thought you would want trout for your last breakfast at the lakes, Captain, so I went down and snaked out a couple."
"What beauties, I replied. "Where did you take them?"
"Down to the Apron. The two will weigh about seven pounds, I think."
We went into camp, took down the scales, and weighed the fish. One weighed three pounds and a half, the other four pounds.
The cook soon had them in the frying-pan, and at six o'clock we sat down to breakfast. As we did not expect to have anything more than a hasty lunch at noon we ate heartily.
We had picked up all our things the night before, and were ready to depart as soon as we arose from the table. I charged McCard to look after the steamer, and, bidding all the inmates of the camp good-by, we left just in time to escape an old shoe that the cook threw after us for luck.
We crossed the dam and went over to the lower landing, where we launched our boat and pulled down to Mosquito Brook.
It was a lovely morning, warm for October, and the lake was so smooth and calm that the foliage, with all its delicate leaves and twigs, and its gorgeous array of colors, was reflected with a mirror-like fidelity. The shadowy outlines of old Aziscohos and Observatory, two beautiful mountains that towered skyward north of us, were also thrown on the smooth water, a long distance from the shore.
"This is a jolly morning to start," said Jack, as our powerful strokes sent the light craft spinning through the water.
"It is simply perfect; if we have such weather as this all the way to Parmachenee our trip will be one of the things to be remembered."
Just then two loons bobbed their heads above water, not more than fifty feet behind us, and with taunting cries challenged us to make a target of them. This was too much for Jack, and he dropped his oar, seized his gun, and blazed away at them. The shot made the water boil all around them, but did no damage, and the birds, rising in the water, gave themselves a shake, and again sent forth their mocking notes, swimming about as unconcernedly as if there was not a gun within a thousand miles of them. Jack put in new charges and fired again, but with no better result. His success reminded me of the Irishman shooting the fox. Telling the story to a friend he said, "Bedad I the first toime I hit him I missed him; and the second toime I fired I hit him where I missed him before."
I remarked to Jack that we had better resume our rowing, for I doubted if he had ammunition enough in the boat to kill one loon, let alone two. We started onward again, a cry of triumph from the loons ringing in our ears.
"If we had not been in a hurry I would have fixed them," growled Jack.
An incredulous smile lit up my face, and I resisted the inclination to make game of my companion. He was something like a firebrand; it did not take much to set him into a blaze, and I did not care to begin our trip by stirring up ill-feeling. It is a very good thing sometimes if you know when to hold your tongue.
Off the half-way point we passed a flock of black ducks; but, as we were anxious to get to Whitney's Camp before Captain Cole went away, we did not stop to take a shot.
We ran our boat into the mouth of the brook and pulled it out on the sand, then went round to the back door of the camp. We stepped into the kitchen and found the captain just arising from the breakfast-table. We exchanged greetings, and then stated our business.
"Jack and I are going up to Parmachenee Lake by the way of Lake Umbagog and the Magalloway, and we want you to go down to the Middle Dam with us and bring the boat back, and leave it at the Upper Dam. I will pay you for your trouble. Can you go?"
"Yes, I guess so. Can we pull four oars in the boat you came down in?"
"No, she only has one set of rowlocks."
"Then hadn't we better take a boat from here, and leave yours and to-morrow I will take it back to the dam?"
"Any way to suit yourself. Four oars are better for a six-mile pull than two."
"Well," said Captain Cole, "we'll take Harvey's boat then."
"She's an easy rowing boat," added Jack.
"So much the better," I said; and we waited the captain's pleasure.