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Hong, Edna Hatlestad, 1913- / Muskego boy

Chapter 5: The water road to the west,   pp. [31]-38

Page 38

Then, too, there were the locks--eighty-three of them-to go through. 
Sometimes there was a race with another boat to get to the locks first-a
mad race full of cracking whips, straining, sweating horses, and shouting,
cursing men. 
Riot and rumpus. Mikkel and Per loved it. 
The journey on the Great Lakes was not nearly so much fun. The boat 
just sailed-and sailed-and sailed, and there wasn't much to see except trees,
trees, trees-and more trees. 
"Why didn't we take a steamboat the way Soren Bache and Herr Clausen
did and get there faster?" Mikkel asked one day when it just seemed
couldn't stand his prickly underwear and the dry old cheese and flatbread,
one day more. 
"For the same reason we took the canal boat and not the train, as they
did," answered Far. "We haven't the money. On the sailboat it costs
us grown- 
ups only two dollars each from Buffalo to Milwaukee, and they take our 
baggage free. We can't afford steamboats and trains." 
Mikkel sighed and wondered. Maybe America wasn't so rich after all. 
He hadn't seen any marble palaces and bright gas lamps for days now. Amer-
ica seemed to have become a great huge forest of scrubby pines. What kind
of country were they going to, anyway? 
A scream from Per broke into Mikkel's gloom. 
"Mikkel! Mikkel! Come here quick! Hurry!" 
Mikkel rushed to the railing and followed Per's pointed finger with his 
eyes. The boat was passing through a narrow strait and close to a village
tents. Standing on the shore silently watching the boat pass by were-Indians
Real Indians-buckskin, blankets, moccasins, and all! 
What kind of country were they coming to, anyway? 

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