The Runaway Or, The Adventures of Rodney Roverton

by: Unknown

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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T was a lovely Sabbath morning in May, 1828, when two lads, the elder of whom was about sixteen years old, and the younger about fourteen, were wandering along the banks of a beautiful brook, called the Buttermilk Creek, in the immediate vicinity of the city of Albany, N. Y. Though there is no poetry in the name of this little stream, there is sweet music made by its rippling waters, as they rush rapidly along the shallow channel, fretting at the rocks that obstruct its course, and racing toward a precipice, down which it plunges, some thirty or forty feet, forming a light, feathery cascade; and then, as if exhausted by the leap, creeping sluggishly its little distance toward the broad Hudson. The white spray, churned out by the friction against the air, and flung perpetually upwards, suggested to our sires a name for this miniature Niagara; and, without any regard for romance or euphony, they called it Buttermilk Falls. It was a charming spot, notwithstanding its homely name, before the speculative spirit of progress—stern foe of Nature's beauties—had pushed the borders of the city close upon the tiny cataract, hewed down the pines upon its banks, and opened quarries among its rocks.

It was before this change had passed over the original wilderness, that the lads whom we have mentioned were strolling, in holy time, upon the banks of the little stream, above the falls.

"Rodney," said the elder of the boys, "suppose your mother finds out that you have run away from Sunday-school, this morning; what will she say to you?"

"Why, she will be very likely to punish me," said Rodney; "but you know I am used to it; and, though decidedly unpleasant, it does not grate on my nerves as it did a year or two ago. Van Dyke, my teacher, says I am hardened. But I would rather have a stroll here, and a flogging after it, than be shut up in school and church all day to escape it. I wish, Will, that mother was like your grandfather, and would let me do as I please on Sunday."

"Now that I am an apprentice," replied Will Manton, "and shut up in the shop all the week, it would be rather hard to prevent my having a little sport on Sunday. I think it is necessary to swallow a little fresh air on Sunday, to blow the sawdust out of my throat; and to have a game of ball occasionally, to keep my joints limber, for they get stiff leaning over the work-bench, shoving the jack-plane, and chiseling out mortices all the week."

"Well, Will, I, too, get very sick of work," replied the younger boy. "I do not think I ever shall like it. When I am roused up early in the morning, and go into the shop, and look at the tools, and think that, all day long, I must stand and pull leather strands, while other boys can go free, and take their sport, and swim, or fish, or hunt, or play, just as they please, it makes me feel like running away. Now, here am I, a little more than fourteen years old; and must I spend seven years in a dirty shop, with the prospect of hard work all my life?...