Following the Erie Canal | News, Sports, Jobs
Suspecting that I was being taken on a longer stay, I grabbed a book while packing.
Well, naturally, when the immediate future seems a little uncertain, it makes sense to plan big. In this case, this meant that the 922 pages “Three pillars” by Walter D. Edmonds. I had already appreciated “Drums along the Mohawk” so this time chosen “Erie Water.” This is not a title that I particularly like, my only criticism of a magnificent novel.
I intentionally programmed it as a suggestion for a perfect Christmas present for all of your family. Amazon has / had my volume for $ 10.41 with prices reaching over seven hundred dollars. The reviews are all five stars.
“Erie Water” follows the construction of the Erie Canal through the eyes of a young man, twenty-one years old and absent from home for the first time, who works the canal from start to finish. “Ho, um, boring?” “ Never a minute! The plot is excellent with unexpected twists and turns as the characters (never hard to follow) come to life on every page. Having said that, it is by far the easiest way to increase your knowledge and appreciation of a vital project almost next door.
Come meet Jerry Fowler. “I have ninety dollars. I intend to use fifty for a down payment on fifty acres and purchase items to pay off the other two hundred. They say you have eight years of Company time.
On a ferry at Albany, Jerry sees a brig loaded with “Passengers: at the sloop’s wharf, April 15, 1817, at half past eleven, who are prepared to defray the cost of their passage by committing for a limited period, consist of people from the following professions, in addition to women and children; namely: – 13 farmers, 1 baker, 1 butcher, 1 blacksmith, 2 shoemakers, 1 brewer, 1 wheelwright, 2 barbers, 1 cabinetmaker, 1 weaver, 1 charcoal maker, 2 coopers.
“Apply aboard Honeyman’s sloop, ma’am. Henry Fearon, Master Bubona, present at this time.
Another observer takes the floor. “The poor things. I’m sorry for them. It’s not that bad for men. These are the women and the children. Young people. They don’t know what to expect and cannot choose. Fearon signs them on anything that matches his price.
Right on the platform [Jerry] saw the sloop charge of redeemers. He now had a clear view of the girl in the blue shawl. Part of the spirit had escaped from his attitude. His shoulders slumped a bit. His eyes had ceased their restless wanderings and were leaning down the river with a passive and desperate gaze.
“But the girl was scared. She didn’t talk to others; she kept to herself. A sailor, rolling on the deck, saw him and called him. The sloop’s hands burst into laughter. And the girl, with a quick nod of her head, noticed, her color thickened, and she bit her lip and moved closer to her others, as if she wanted to hide. As she looked around her eyes met Jerry’s.
“Suddenly he found himself retracing his steps. He would take another look, he told himself, and if the girl was gone, that would settle the matter. He felt like a fool, but he was his own man to do whatever he wanted.
Which in this case means buying the girl. Forty dollars was a good deal, he thought. I’ll have to rent a winter and make up for it.
Only the captain wanted more because his mother died during the trip and so there had been two. “The tickets in his hands were floating. He hadn’t meant to haggle, but he felt the girl’s eyes on him. Without a word, he counted thirty dollars more. It left him with a pitifully fragile wreath.
The girl “looked at Jerry quietly for a moment. The captain handed over the papers. He blew out some ink from the tip of the quill and wiped it on his pants, gave Jerry a brief smile, turned to the baker.
” OK sir ? “
Jerry tied the papers in his package.
” Go on ! He said to the girl. “
And we are only ten pages away from the story. (Yes, this is the Erie Canal and, yes, you will appreciate it.)
Susan Crossett has lived in Arkwright for over 20 years. A life of writing led to these chronicles as well as two novels. Its raison d’être was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts in 2014. Information on all thoughts, his books and the author can be found at Susancrossett.com.