Forests of Maine by Jacob Abbott
Forests of Maine , Marco Paul's Adventures in Pursuit of Knowledge , by Jacob Abbott 1803-1879
I. THE MOUTH OF THE KENNEBEC.
II. THE LOST BUCKET.
III. A RAFT.
IV. THE DESERT ISLAND.
V. THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.
VI. EBONY AND PINE.
VII. THE BEAR IN THE MILL.
VIII. THE BIVOUACK.
IX. THE ENCAMPMENT.
X. LOST IN THE WOODS.
XI. THE SHINGLE WEAVER'S.
XII. A VOYAGE ON THE POND.
The design of the series of volumes, which it is intended to issue under
the general title of MARCO PAUL'S ADVENTURES IN THE PURSUIT OF
KNOWLEDGE, is not merely to entertain the reader with a narrative of
juvenile adventures, but also to communicate, in connexion with them, as
extensive and varied information as possible, in respect to the
geography, the scenery, the customs and the institutions of this
country, as they present themselves to the observation of the little
traveller, who makes his excursions under the guidance of an intelligent
and well-informed companion, qualified to assist him in the acquisition
of knowledge and in the formation of character. The author will endeavor
to enliven his narrative, and to infuse into it elements of a salutary
moral influence, by means of personal incidents befalling the actors in
the story. These incidents are, of course, imaginary- -but the reader may
rely upon the strict and exact truth and fidelity of all the
descriptions of places, institutions and scenes, which are brought
before his mind in the progress of the narrative. Thus, though the
author hopes that the readers, who may honor these volumes with their
perusal, will be amused and interested by them, his design throughout
will be to instruct rather than to entertain.
MARCO PAUL IN THE FORESTS
THE MOUTH OF THE KENNEBEC.
One summer, Forester and Marco Paul formed a plan for going to Quebec.
Marco was very much interested in going to Quebec, as he wanted to see
the fortifications. Forester had told him that Quebec was a
strongly-fortified city, being a military post of great importance,
belonging to the British government. Marco was very much pleased at the
idea of seeing the fortifications, and the soldiers that he supposed
must be placed there to defend them.
On their way to Quebec, they had to sail up the Kennebec in a steamboat.
As they were passing along, Marco and Forester sat upon the deck. It was
a pleasant summer morning. They had been sailing all night upon the sea,
on the route from Boston to the mouth of the Kennebec. They entered the
mouth of the Kennebec very early in the morning, just before Forester
and Marco got up. And thus it happened that when they came up upon the
deck, they found that they were sailing in a river. The water was smooth
and glassy, shining brilliantly under the rays of the morning sun, which
was just beginning to rise.
The shores of the river were rocky and barren. Here and there, in the
coves and eddies, were what appeared to Marco to be little fences in the
water. Forester told him that they were for catching fish. The steamboat
moved very slowly, and every moment the little bell would ring, and the
engine would stop. Then the boat would move more slowly still, until the
bell sounded again for the engine to be put in motion, and then the boat
would go on a little faster.
"What makes them keep stopping?" said Marco.
"The water is very low this morning," said Forester, "and they have to
proceed very carefully, or else they will get aground."
"What makes the water so low now?" asked Marco.
"There are two reasons," replied Forester. "It is late in the summer,
and the streams and springs are all low; so that there is but little
water to come down from the country above. Then, besides, the tide is
low this morning in the sea, and that causes what water there is in the
bed of the river to run off into the sea."
"Is not there any tide in the river?" asked Marco.
"No," said Forester, "I suppose there is not, strictly speaking. That
is, the moon, which attracts the waters of the ocean, and makes them
rise and fall in succession, produces no sensible effect upon the waters
of a river. But then the rise and fall of the sea itself causes all
rivers to rise and fall near their mouths, and as far up as the
influence of the sea extends. You see, in fact, that it must be so."
"Not exactly," said Marco.
"Why, when the water in the sea," continued Forester, "at the mouth of
the river is very low, the water in the river can flow off more readily,
and this makes the water fall in the river itself. On the other hand,
when the water in the sea is high, the water cannot run out from the
river, and so it rises. Sometimes, in fact, the sea rises so much that
the water from the sea flows up into the river, and makes it salt for a
considerable distance from its mouth."
"I wonder whether the water is salt here," said Marco.
"I don't know," said Forester.
"If we had a pail with a long rope to it," said Marco, "we could let it
down and get some, and try it."
"We could let the pail down, but I doubt very much whether we could get
any water," said Forester. "It is quite difficult to drop the pail in
such a manner as to get any water when the vessel is under way."
"I should like to _try_," said Marco.
"You can find out whether the water is salt easier than that," said
Forester. "You can let a twine string down, and wet the end. That will
take up enough for a taste."
"Well," said Marco, "if I've got a string long enough." So saying, he
began to feel in his pockets for a string.
He found a piece of twine, which he thought would be long enough, but,
on trial, it appeared that it would not reach quite to the water.
Forester then tied it to the end of his cane, and allowed Marco to take
the cane, and hold it over the side of the vessel; and by this means he
succeeded in reaching the water, and wetting the end of the string. He
could, after all, succeed in wetting only a small part of the string,
for it was drawn along so rapidly by the motion of the boat, that it
skipped upon the surface of the water without sinking in.
At length, however, after he had got the end a little wetted, he drew it
up and put it in his mouth.
"How does it taste?" said Forester.
The question was hardly necessary, for the _faces_ which Marco made
showed sufficiently plain that the water was bitter and salt.
"Yes, it is salt," said he. Then, suddenly casting his eye upon a long
dark-looking substance, which just then came floating by, he called out,
"Why, Forester, what is that?"
"A log," said Forester.
The log was round and straight, and the ends were square. The log glided
rapidly by, and soon disappeared.
"It is a pine log," said Forester. "There are vast forests of pine trees
in this state. They cut down the trees, and then cut the trunks into
pieces of moderate length, and draw them on the snow to the rivers.
Then, in the spring, the waters rise and float the logs down. This is
one of these logs floating down. Sometimes the river is quite full of
"Where do they go?" asked Marco.
"Oh, men stop them all along the river, and put them into booms, and
then fasten them together in rafts."
"How do they fasten them together?" asked Marco.
"They drive a pin into the middle of each log, and then extend a rope
along, fastening it to each pin. In this manner, the rope holds the logs
together, and they form a long raft. When they catch the