The Best Relations Were At Once Established Between Us And This
Man, And Though Few Words Were Spoken, He Could Not Conceal A
Visible Interest In Us And Our Excursion.
He was a lover of the
higher mathematics, as we found, and in the midst of some vast
Problem, when we overtook him and whispered our conjectures.
By this man we were presented with the freedom of the Merrimack.
We now felt as if we were fairly launched on the ocean-stream of
our voyage, and were pleased to find that our boat would float on
Merrimack water. We began again busily to put in practice those
old arts of rowing, steering, and paddling. It seemed a strange
phenomenon to us that the two rivers should mingle their waters
so readily, since we had never associated them in our thoughts.
As we glided over the broad bosom of the Merrimack, between
Chelmsford and Dracut, at noon, here a quarter of a mile wide,
the rattling of our oars was echoed over the water to those
villages, and their slight sounds to us. Their harbors lay as
smooth and fairy-like as the Lido, or Syracuse, or Rhodes, in our
imagination, while, like some strange roving craft, we flitted
past what seemed the dwellings of noble home-staying men, seemingly
as conspicuous as if on an eminence, or floating upon a tide
which came up to those villagers' breasts. At a third of a mile
over the water we heard distinctly some children repeating their
catechism in a cottage near the shore, while in the broad
shallows between, a herd of cows stood lashing their sides, and
waging war with the flies.
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