« ZurückWeiter »
be qualified to play groom, teamster, or boot-black, as the case may be ; besides « tending the baby” at odd times, and cutting wood to cook his dinner with. If he has good sense, good nature, and a little spice of practical philosophy, all this goes exceedingly well. He will find neither his mind less cheerful, nor his body less vigorous for these little sacrifices. If he is too proud or too indolent to submit to such infringe. ments upon his dignity and ease, most essential deductions from the daily comfort of his family will be the mortifying and vexatious result of his obstinate adherence to early habits.
We witnessed by accident so striking a lesson on this subject, not long after our removal to Montacute, that I must be allowed to record the impression it made upon my mind. A business errand called Mr. Clavers some miles from home; and having heard much of the loveliness of the scenery in that direction, I packed the children into the great waggon and went with him.
The drive was a charming one. The time, mid. summer, and the wilderness literally “blossoming as the rose.” In a tour of ten miles we saw three lovely lakes, each a lonely gem set deep in masses of emerald green, which shut it in completely from all but its own bright beauty. The road was a most intricate one " thorough bush--thorough brier,” and the ascents, the “ pitches,” the “ sidlings” in some places quite terrific. At one of the latter points, where the road wound, as so many Michigan roads do, round the edge of a broad green marsh ; I insisted upon getting out, as usual. The place was quite damp; but I thought I could pick my way over the green spots better than trust myself
in the waggon, which went along for some rods at an angle (I said so at least,) of forty-five. Two men were mowing on the marsh, and seemed highly amused at my perplexity, when after watching the receding vehi. cle till it ascended a steep bank on the farther side, I began my course. For a few steps I made out tolerably, but then I began to sink most inconveniently. Silly thin shoes again. Nobody should ever go one mile from home in thin shoes in this country, but old.com Broadway habits are so hard to forget.
At length, my case became desperate. One shoe had provokingly disappeared. I had stood on one foot as long as ever goose did, but no trace of the missing Broqua could I find, and down went the stocking six inches into the black mud. I cried out for help ; and the mowers, with “ a lang and a loud guffaw,” came leisurely towards me. Just then appeared Mr. Clavers on the green slope above mentioned. It seems his high mightiness had concluded by this time that I had been sufficiently punished for my folly, (all husbands are so tyrannical !) and condescended to.come to my
I should have been very sulky; but then, there were the children. However, my spouse did try to find a road which should less frequently give rise to those troublesome terrors of mine. So we drove on and on, through ancient woods, which I could not help admiring; and, at length, missing our way, we came suddenly upon a log-house, very different from that which was the object of our search. It was embowered in oaks of the largest size ; and one glance told us that the hand of refined taste had been there. The under-brush had been entirely cleared away, and the
broad expanse before the house looked like a smoothshaven lawn, deep-shadowed by the fine trees I have mentioned. Gleams of sunset fell on beds of flowers of every hue ; curtains of French muslin shaded the narrow windows, and on a rustic seat near the door lay a Spanish guitar, with its broad scarf of blue silk. I could not think of exhibiting my inky stocking to the inmates of such a cottage, though I longed for a peep ; and Mr. Clavers went alone to the house to inquire the way, while I played tiger and held the horses.
I might have remained undiscovered, but for the delighted exclamations of the children, who were in raptures with the beautiful flowers, and the lake which shone, a silver mirror, immediately beneath the bank on which we were standing. Their merry talk echoed through the trees, and presently out came a young lady in a demi-suisse costume ; her dark hair closely braid. ed and tied with ribbons, and the pockets of her rustic apron full of mosses and wild flowers. With the air rather of Paris than of Michigan, she insisted on my alighting; and though in awkward plight, I suffered myself to be persuaded. The interior of the house corresponded in part with the impressions I had received from my first glance at the exterior. There was a harp in a recess, and the white-washed log-walls were hung with a variety of cabinet pictures. A tasteful drapery of French chintz partly concealed another re. cess, closely filled with books ; a fowling-piece hung over the chimney, and before a large old-fashioned looking-glass stood a French pier-table, on which were piled fossil specimens, mosses, vases of flowers, books, pictuers, and music. So far all was well ; and two young ladies seated on a small sofa near the table, with netting and needle-work were in keeping with the romantic side of the picture. But there was more than all this.
The bare floor was marked in every direction with that detestable yellow dye which mars every thing in this country, although a great box filled with sand stood near the hearth, melancholy and fruitless provi. sion against this filthy visitation. Two great dirty dogs lay near a large rocking-chair, and this rockingchair sustained the tall person of the master of the house, a man of perhaps forty years or thereabouts, the lines of whose face were such, as he who runs may read. Pride and passion, and reckless self-indulgence were there, and fierce discontent and determined indolence. An enormous pair of whiskers, which sur. rounded the whole lower part of the countenance, afforded incessant employment for the long slender fingers, which showed no marks of labour, except very dirty nails. This gentleman had, after all, something of a high-bred air, if one did not look at the floor, and could forget certain indications of excessive careless. ness discernible in his dress and person.
We had'not yet seen the lady of the cottage ; the young girl who had ushered me in so politely was her sister, now on a summer visit. Mrs. B-shortly after entered in an undress, but with a very lady-like grace
manner, and the step of a queen. Her face, which bore the traces of beauty, struck me as one of the most melancholy I had ever seen ; and it was overspread with a sort of painful flush, which did not conceal its habitual paleness.
We had been conversing but a few moments, when a shriek from the children called every one out of doors in an instant. One of Mr. B-'s sons had ventured too near the horses, and received from our “old Tom," who is a little roguish, a kick on the arm. He roared most lustily, and every body was very much frightened, and ran in all directions seeking remedies. I called upon a boy, who seemed to be a domestic, to get some salt and vinegar, (for the mother was disabled by ter. ror ;) but as he only grinned and stared at me, I ran into the kitchen to procure it myself. I opened a closet door, but the place seemed empty or nearly so; I sought every where within ken, but all was equally desolate. I opened the door of a small bed-room, but I saw in a moment that I ought not to have and shut it again instantly. Hopeless of finding what I sought, I returned to the parlour, and there the little boy was holding a vinaigrette to his mother's nose, while the young ladies were chafing her hands. She had swooned in excessive alarm, and the kick had, after all, produced only a trifling bruise.
After Mrs. B_ had recovered herself a little, she entered at some length, and with a good deal of animation on a detail of her Michigan experiences ; not, as I had hoped at the beginning,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole ; But giving so depressing a view of the difficulties of the country, that I felt almost disposed for the moment to regret my determination of trying a woodland life. She had found all barren. They had no neighbours, or worse than none could get no domestics— found every one