Harper's Young People, August 3, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

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Excerpt The policeman did not return, and the boys slept until an hour after sunrise. They then rowed down the river to the steamboat landing, where they left their boat in charge of a boatman, and went to a hotel for breakfast. The waiters were rather astonished at the tremendous appetites displayed by the four sunburned boys, and there is no doubt that the landlord lost money that morning. After breakfast, Harry went to the express office, where he found a large water-proof India rubber bag, which the Department had sent in answer to his letter. At the post-office were letters from home for all the boys, and a postal order for ten dollars from Uncle John for the use of the expedition. Harry had no idea that this money would be needed, but it subsequently proved to be very useful. Quite a quantity of stores were bought at Albany, for the voyage up the Hudson had lasted longer than any one had supposed it would, and the provisions were getting low. No unnecessary time was spent in buying these stores, for a fair wind was blowing, and all the boys were anxious to take advantage of it. By ten o'clock they were again afloat, and soon after noon they reached Troy, and entered the canal. The canal basin was crowded with canal-boats, and to avoid accidents the Whitewing's mast was taken down, and the oars were got out. Harry knew that, in order to pass through the locks, it would be necessary to pay toll, and to procure an order from the canal authorities directing the lock-men to permit the Whitewing to pass. The canal boatmen, of whom he made inquiries, told him where to find the office, which was some little distance up the canal. When the office was reached, an officer came and inspected the boat, asked a great many questions about the cruise up the Hudson, and seemed to be very much interested in the expedition. He told the boys that the water was low in the Champlain Canal, and that the lock-men might not be willing to open the locks for so small a boat; but that they could avoid all dispute by entering the locks at the same time with some one of the many canal-boats that were on their way north. He charged the Whitewing the enormous sum of twenty-five cents for tolls, and gave Harry an important-looking order, by which the lock-men were directed to allow the skiff Whitewing, Captain Harry Wilson, to pass through all the locks on the canal. Thanking the pleasant officer, the boys pushed off. After they had passed the place where the Champlain Canal branches off from the Erie Canal, they were no longer troubled by a crowd of canal-boats, and were able to set the sail again. Unluckily, the mast was just a little too high to pass under the bridges, and at the first bridge which they met they narrowly escaped a capsize—Jim succeeding in getting the mast down only just in time to save it from striking the bridge. They had hardly set sail again when another bridge came in sight, and they could see just beyond it a third bridge. It would never do to stop at every bridge and unship the mast, so Harry went on shore, borrowed a saw from a cooper's shop, and sawed six inches off from the top of the mast, after which the bridges gave them no more trouble. The boys were very much interested in passing the first lock. They slipped into the lock behind a big canal-boat, which left just room enough between its rudder and the gate for the Whitewing. When the lock-men shut the gate behind the boat, and opened the sluices in the upper gate, the water rose slowly and steadily. The sides of the lock were so steep and black that the boys felt very much as if they were at the bottom of a well; but it was not many minutes before the water had risen so high that the upper gates were opened, and the big canal-boat and its little follower were released....
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