A-Rafting on the Mississip'

By Charles Edward Russell | Go to book overview

Chapter XIX
MR. HILL, MEET CAPTAIN PLUCK

WE left Stephen Beck Hanks planting cherry-trees and watering his geraniums on his little farm at Albany, Illinois, convinced that he and the river were thenceforth twain. No man that ever held a wheel on the Mississippi was afterward content at anything else, though he might eat from gold plate of nightingales’ tongues. Hanks had been holding the watering-pot and the hoe about long enough to be fairly uneasy in his soul, when along comes his brother-in-law, Captain Jenks, with a proposal.

The towing of rafts by stern-wheel steamboats had been demonstrated to be the right way, and the J. W. Van Sant had been followed by a score of similar craft, all busily at work. Captain Jenks had gone into the business and now came to offer Hanks a place on the new rafter Brother Jonathan at $1600 a year.

The watering-pot fell with a crash.

The Jonathan had wintered a raft at Cat Tail Slough, which is close below Clinton, and Hanks went up there to take boat and raft to St. Louis. He had never tried to steer a raft with a steamboat, and, since the great days of his successes as a floating pilot, river conditions had changed. For one thing, the old stream had been spanned by many bridges.

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