"I'll set thee a craddy, Tom! Thou dar'n't go over yon black line in the water, out into the real river."
Of course the challenge was not to be refused; and Tom paddled away towards the dark line, beyond which the river swept with smooth, steady current. Ruth (a child in years herself) stood at the top of the declivity watching the adventurer, but as unconscious of any danger as the group of children below. At their playfellow's success, they broke through the calm gravity of observation into boisterous marks of applause, clapping their hands, and stamping their impatient little feet, and shouting, "Well done, Tom; thou hast done it rarely!"
Tom stood in childish dignity for a moment, facing his admirers; then, in an instant, his washing-tub boat was whirled round, and he lost his balance, and fell out; and both he and his beat were carried away slowly, but surely, by the strong full river which eternally moved onwards to the sea. big dongs