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day. In the quiet square, no doubt, it was always restful

source:Clear thinking network   author:nature   time:2023-12-02 01:05:18

Some of the boats were painted and gilded in gaudy style and flaunted gay pennons from their mastheads; others, white as snow, with every spotless sail rounded by the wind, looked like swans borne onward by a resistless current. It seemed to Ben as, following his fancy, he watched one of these in the distance, that he could almost hear its helpless, terrified cry, but he soon found that the sound arose from a nearer and less romantic cause--from an iceboat not fifty yards from him, using its brakes to avoid a collision with a peat sled.

day. In the quiet square, no doubt, it was always restful

It was a rare thing for these boats to be upon the canal, and their appearance generally caused no little excitement among skaters, especially among the timid; but today every iceboat in the country seemed afloat or rather aslide, and the canal had its full share.

day. In the quiet square, no doubt, it was always restful

Ben, though delighted at the sight, was often startled at the swift approach of the resistless, high-winged things threatening to dart in any and every possible direction. It required all his energies to keep out of the way of the passersby and to prevent those screaming little urchins from upsetting him with their sleds. Once he halted to watch some boys who were making a hole in the ice preparatory to using their fishing spears. Just as he concluded to start again, he found himself suddenly bumped into an old lady's lap. Her push-chair had come upon him from the rear. The old lady screamed; the servant who was propelling her gave a warning hiss. In another instant Ben found himself apologizing to empty air. The indignant old lady was far ahead.

day. In the quiet square, no doubt, it was always restful

This was a slight mishap compared with one that now threatened him. A huge iceboat, under full sail, came tearing down the canal, almost paralyzing Ben with the thought of instant destruction. It was close upon him! He saw its gilded prow, heard the schipper *{ Skipper. Master of a small trading vessel--a pleasure boat or iceboat.} shout, felt the great boom fairly whiz over his head, was blind, deaf, and dumb all in an instant, then opened his eyes to find himself spinning some yards behind its great skatelike rudder. It had passed within an inch of his shoulder, but he was safe! Safe to see England again, safe to kiss the dear faces that for an instant had flashed before him one by one--Father, Mother, Robby, and Jenny--that great boom had dashed their images into his very soul. He knew now how much he loved them. Perhaps this knowledge made him face complacently the scowls of those on the canal who seemed to feel that a boy in danger was necessarily a BAD boy needing instant reprimand.

"I thought it was all over with you, you careless fellow! Why don't you look where you are going? Not content with sitting on all the old ladies' laps, you must make a Juggernaut of every iceboat that comes along. We shall have to hand you over to the aanspreekers yet, if you don't look out!"

"Please don't," said Ben with mock humility, then seeing how pale Lambert's lips were, he added in a low tone, "I do believe I THOUGHT more in that one moment, Van Mounen, than in all the rest of my past life."

There was no reply, and, for a while, the two boys skated on in silence.

Soon a faint sound of distant bells reached their ears.

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