CHAPTER XXI. WHAT CHRISTMAS EVE BROUGHT

In recording our various mishaps and upsets in these pages, it may seem to the reader as if I have given undue prominence to the part I took in them. If so, it has not been from choice, but because they happened in that way. No doubt a great deal of my trouble was due to carelessness. After I had learned to row my boat fairly well I sometimes took chances that proved to be anything but advisable, depending a good deal on luck, and luck was not always with me. My brother was less hasty in making his decisions, and was more careful in his movements, with the result that his boat had few marks of any kind, and he had been more fortunate than I with the rapids.

It is my duty to record another adventure at this point, in which we all three shared, each in a different manner. This time I am going to give my brother's record of the happenings that overtook us about four o'clock in the afternoon of December the 24th, less than three hours after we left our friends at the Bass Trail with "best wishes for a Merry Christmas," and had received instructions from John "to keep our feet dry"

My brother's account follows:

     "The fourth rapid below the Bass Trail was bad, but after 
     looking it over we decided it could be run. We had taken 
     chances in rapids that looked worse and came through 
     unharmed; if we were successful here, it would be over in a 
     few minutes, and forgotten an hour later. So we each made 
     the attempt."

     "Lauzon had gone near the lower end of the rapid, taking the 
     left shore, for a sixty-foot wall with a sloping bench on 
     top rose sheer out of the water on the right. The only shore 
     on the right was close to the head of the rapid, a small 
     deposit or bank of earth and rock. The inner gorge here was 
     about nine hundred feet deep."

     "Ellsworth went first, taking the left-hand side. I picked 
     out a course on the right as being the least dangerous; but 
     I was scarcely started when I found myself on a nest of 
     jagged rocks, with violent water all about me, and with 
     other rocks, some of them submerged, below me. I climbed out 
     on the rocks and held the boat."

     "If the others could land below the rapid and climb back, 
     they might get a rope to me and pull me off the rocks far 
     enough to give me a new start, but they could not pull the 
     boat in to shore through the rough water. A person thinks 
     quickly under such circumstances, I had it all figured out 
     as soon as I was on the rocks. The greatest trouble would be 
     to hold the boat if she broke loose."