Afloat on the Flood

Language: English
Published: 1 week ago
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"What's the latest weather report down at the post office, Max?"

"More rain coming, they say, and everybody is as gloomy as a funeral."

"My stars! the poor old town of Carson is getting a heavy dose this spring, for a fact; nothing but rain, rain, and then some more rain."

"Never was anything to beat it, Bandy-legs, and they say even the oldest inhabitant can't remember when the Evergreen River was at a higher stage than it is right now."

"Here comes our chum, Toby Jucklin, and he looks as if he might be bringing some news with him. Hi! Toby, what's the latest?"

The new arrival, who was somewhat out of breath with hurrying, surveyed the two boys who stood there awaiting his arrival, with an expression of almost comical uneasiness on his face. Truth to tell, whenever Toby became in any way excited, and often when he was perfectly calm, his tongue played him cruel tricks, so that he stuttered, and stumbled fearfully; until suddenly stopping he would draw in a long breath, give a sharp whistle, and having thus obtained a grip on himself often proceeded to speak as intelligibly as any one.

"M-m-mills and s-s-shops all closed down, so's to let w-w-workers have c-c-chance to save their h-h-household goods!" he went on to say in a labored manner.

The boy who had been called Bandy-legs by Max, and whose rather crooked lower limbs were undoubtedly responsible for the nickname among his school fellows, gave a whistle to indicate the depth of his feelings.

Toby may have had an obstruction in his vocal cords, but he could run like a streak; on the other hand, while Bandy-legs could not be said to have an elegant walk, which some hateful fellows compared to the waddle of a duck, there was nothing the matter with his command of language, for he could rattle on like the machinery in one of Carson's mills.

"And," he went on to say, excitedly, "the last news I heard was that school would have to stay closed all of next week, because the water is on the campus now, and likely to get in the cellars before the river goes down again. Which means we'll have a week's vacation we didn't count on."

Somehow even that important event, which at another time would have caused the boys to throw their hats into the air with glee, did not seem to create a ripple of applause among the three young chaps. Carson was threatened with a terrible disaster, the greatest in all her history, and even these boys could experience something of the sensation of awe that had begun to pass through the whole community.

The Evergreen River that ran past the town was already bank-full; and all manner of terrifying reports kept circulating among the panic-stricken people of that section of the State, adding to their alarm and uneasiness. More rain meant accessions to the flood, already augmented by the melting of vast quantities of snow up in the mountains, owing to the sudden coming of Spring. Besides this, some people claimed to know that the great reservoir which supplied water to many towns, was not as secure as it might be, and they spread reports of cracks discovered that might suddenly bring about another Johnstown disaster....