The huffler in question--the term refers to pick-up kid labor--is really an eleven-year-old ""young lady"" who impulsively runs away from her resented new home to join two youngsters taking coal to a paper mill in a pair of horse-drawn canal boats. While Ned and Bess push to get their laid-up older brother's boat to the mill on time, Harry (short for Harriet) struggles to make herself useful and hide her upper class identity. Harry tells her story seven years later to a younger cousin, cast as narrator, and to a very proper suitor who, though tolerant of her adventure, is obviously no match for the spunky Harry. It's an old-fashioned story, not only in its setting but in its heroine's democratic defense of her poor but worthy companions, but winningly so. And canal boating will be a whole new world not only for Harry but for today's readers too.