A TOWN AFLOAT
"Is she going?" asked Uncle Daniel at last, after a wait of several
Daylight was there now; and was ever dawn more welcome in Meadow Brook!
"I'll go up to the pipes," volunteered John. "And I can see
Now, the pipes were great water conduits, the immense black iron kind that
are used for carrying water into cities from reservoirs. They were situated
quite a way from the dam, but as it was daylight John could see the gates
he stood on the pipes that crossed above the pond.
Usually boys could walk across these pipes in safety, as they were far above
the water, but the flood had raised the stream so that the water just
reached the pipes, and John had to be careful.
"What's that?" he said, as he looked down the raging stream.
"Something lies across the dam!" he shouted to the anxious listeners.
This was enough. In another minute every man was on the pond bank.
"The big elm!" they shouted. "It has saved the dam!"
What a wonderful thing had happened! The giant elm tree that for so many,
many years had stood on the edge of the stream, was in this great flood
washed away, and as it crossed the dam it broke the force of the torrent,
really making another waterfall.
"It is safe now!" exclaimed Uncle Daniel in surprise. "It
was the tree we
heard crash against the bank. The storm is broken at last, and that tree
will hold where it is stuck until the force goes down. Then we can open
To think that the houses were safe again! That poor Mrs. Burns could come
back to the old mill home once more!
"We must never have this risk again," said Mr. Mason to Uncle
the water goes down we will open the gates, then the next dry spell that
comes when there is little water in the pond we will break that dam and
the water run through in a stream. If the mill people want water power they
will have to get it some place where it will not endanger lives."
Uncle Daniel agreed with Mr. Mason, and as they were both town officials,
was quite likely what they said would be done in Meadow Brook.
"Hey, Bert and Harry!" called Tom Mason, as he and Jack Hopkins
ran past the
Bobbsey place on their way to see the dam. "Come on down and see the
The boys did not wait for breakfast, but with a buttered roll in hand Harry
and Bert joined the others and hurried off to the flood.
"Did the dam burst?" was the first question everybody asked along
and when told how the elm tree had saved it the people were greatly
"Look at this," called Tom, as they came to a turn in the road
pond ran level with the fields. That was where it was only stream, and no
embankment had been built around it.
"Look!" exclaimed Jack; "the water has come up clear across
the road, and we
can only pass by walking on the high board fence."
"Or get a boat," said Tom. "Let's go back to the turn and
see if there's a
boat tied anywhere."
"Here's Herolds'," called Harry, as they found the pretty little
used for pleasure by the summer cottagers, tied up to a tree.
"We'll just borrow that," said Jack, and then the four boys lifted
to that part of the road where the water ran.
"All get in, and I'll push off," said Harry, who had hip-boots
other three climbed in, then Harry gave a good push and scrambled over the
"Think of rowing a boat in the middle of a street," said Bert.
way they do in Naples," he added, "but I never expected to see
such a thing
in Meadow Brook."
The boys pushed along quite easily, as the water was deep enough to use
in, and soon they had rounded the curve of the road and were in sight of
people looking at the dam.
"What an immense tree!" exclaimed Bert, as they left their boat
"That's what saved the dam!" said Harry. "Now Mrs. Burns
can come back home
"But look there!" called Tom. "There goes Peter Burns' chicken
Sure enough, the henhouse had left its foundation and now toppled over into
It had been built below the falls, near the Burns house, and Peter had some
valuable ducks and chickens in it.
"The chickens!" called Jack, as they ran along. "Get the
boat, Harry, and we
can save some."
The boys were dashing out now right in the stream, Jack and Tom being good
But the poor chickens! What an awful noise they made, as they tried to keep
on the dry side of the floating house!
The ducks, of course, didn't mind it, but they added their queer quacking
"We can never catch any of the chickens," said Harry. "We
ought to have a
rope and pull the house in."
"A rope," called Tom to the crowd on the shore. "Throw us
Someone ran off and got one, and it was quickly thrown out to the boys in
"Push up closer," Tom told Harry and Bert, who had the oars now.
Tom made a
big loop on the rope and threw it toward the house. But it only landed over
a chicken, and caused the frightened fowl to fly high up in the air and
in a tree on the bank.
"Good!" cried the people on the edge. "One is safe, anyhow!"
Tom threw the rope again. This time it caught on a corner of the henhouse,
and as he pulled the knot tight they had the floating house secure.
"Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the people.
By this time Mr. Mason and Uncle Daniel had reached the spot in their boat.
"Don't pull too hard!" called the men to the boys. "You'll
upset your boat."
"Throw the line to us," added Uncle Daniel,
This the boys did, and as it was a long stretch of rope the men were able
get all the way in to shore with it before pulling at the house.
"Now we'll have a tug of war," said Mr. Mason.
"Wait for us!" cried the boys in the boat "We want to have
a pull at that."
All this time the chickens were cackling and screeching, as the house in
water lunged from one side to the other. It was a large new coop and built
of strong material that made it very heavy.
"Now," said Uncle Daniel, as the boys reached the shore and secured
boat, "all take a good hold."
Every inch of the rope that crossed the water's edge was soon covered with
"All pull now!" called Mr. Mason, and with a jerk in came the
house, chickens, ducks and all, and down went everybody that had pulled.
The force of the jerk, of course, threw them all to the ground, but that
only fun and gave the boys a good chance to laugh.
Just as soon as the chickens reached the shore they scampered for home -
some flying, some running, but all making a noise.
"We may as well finish the job," said Mr. Mason. "Tom, go
hitch Sable up to
the cart and we'll bring the henhouse back where it belongs."
By running across the fields that were on the highest part of the road Tom
was able to get to his barn without a boat, and soon he returned with the
cart and Sable.
It took all hands to get the henhouse on the cart, but this was finally
done, and away went Sable up the road with the queer load after him in the
"You had better put it up on the hill this time," Peter told them.
water isn't gone down yet." So at last the chicken coop was settled,
not a hen was missing.
There were many sights to be seen about Meadow Brook that afternoon, and
boys enjoyed the flood, now that there was no longer any danger to life.
Bert caught a big salmon and a black-spotted lizard that had been flooded
out from some dark place in the mountains, Harry found a pretty toy canoe
that some smal1 boy had probably been playing with in the stream before
water rose, and Jack was kept busy towing in all kinds of stuff that had
broken loose from barns along the pond.
Freddie had boots on, and was happy sailing his "ark" up and down
He insisted on Snoop taking a ride, but cats do not fancy water and the
black kitten quickly hid himself up in the hay loft, out of Freddie's reach.
Little by little the water fell, until by the next afternoon there was no
longer a river running through the roads. But there were plenty of wet
places and enough of streams washing down the rain the gutters to give
Freddie a fine canal to sail boats in.
Nan and Flossie had boats too which Bert and Harry made for them. In fact,
all the girls along Meadow Brook road found something that would sail while
the flood days lasted.
As it was still July the hot sun came down and dried things up pretty
quickly, but many haymows were completely spoiled, as were summer vegetables
that were too near the pond and came in for their share of the washout.
This loss, however, was nothing compared with what had been expected by
farmers, and all were satisfied that a kind Providence had saved the valley
houses from complete destruction.
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Bobbsey Twins in the Country