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The greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory doth fall under measure; and the greatness of finances and revenue doth fall under computation. *** By all means it is to be procured, that the trunk of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy be great enough to bear the branches and the boughs.-BACON.
The morning passed in viewing and reviewing the village site and the “ Mill privilege," under the conde. scending guidance of a regular land speculator, into whose clutches--but I anticipate.
The public square, the water lots, the value per foot of this undulating surface, clothed as it then was with burr-oaks, and haunted by the red deer; these were almost too much for my gravity. I gave my views, however, as to the location of the grand esplanade, and particularly requested that the fine oaks which now graced it might be spared when the clearing process commenced.
“Oh, certainly, mem!” said our Dousterswivel, “ a place that's designed for a public promenade must not be divested of shade trees !" Yet I believe these very trees were the first “ Banquos” at Montacute. The water lots, which were too valuable to sell save by the foot, are still in the market, and will probably remain there for the present.
This factotum, this Mr. Mazard, was an odd-looking
creature, with a diverse ocular foci," and a form gaunt enough to personify Grahamism. His words some. times flowed in measured softness, and sometimes tum. bled over each other, his anxiety to convince, to persuade, to inspire. His air of earnest conviction, of sincere anxiety for your interest, and, above all, of entire forgetfulness of his own, was irresistible. People who did not know him always believed every word he said ; at least so I have since been informed.
This gentleman had kindly undertaken to lay out our village, to build a mill, a tavern, a store, a blacksmith's shop; houses for cooper, miller, &c. &c., to purchase the large tracts which would be required for the mill-pond, a part of which land was already im. proved ; and all this, although sure to cost Mr. Clavers an immense sum, he, from his experience of the coun. try, his large dealings with saw-mills, &c., would be able to accomplish at a very moderate cost. The mill, for instance, was to be a story and a half high, and to cost perhaps twenty-five hundred dollars at the utmost. The tavern, a cheap building of moderate size, built on the most popular plan, and connected with a store, just large enough for the infant needs of the village, re. serving our strength for a splendid one, (I quote Mr. Mazard) to be built out of the profits in about three years. All these points being thus satisfactorily arranged, Mr. Mazard received carte blanche for the purchase of the lands which were to be flowed, which he had ascertained might be had for a mere trifle.
The principal care now was to find a name—a title at once simple and dignified-striking and euphonious -recherché and yet unpretending. Mr. Mazard was for naming it after the proprietor. It was a proper opportunity, he thought, of immortalizing one's-self. But he failed in convincing the proprietor, who relish. ed not this form of fame, and who referred the matter entirely to me. Here was a responsibility! I begged for time, but the matter must be decided at once. The village plot was to be drawn instanter-lithographed and circulated through the United States, and, to cap the climax, printed in gold, splendidly framed, and hung up in Detroit, in the place where merchants most do congregate.”
I tried for an aboriginal designation, as most char. acteristic and unworn. I recollected a young lady speaking with enthusiastic admiration of our Indian names, and quoting Ypsilanti as a specimen.' But I was not fortunate in my choice; for to each of the few which I could recollect, Mr. Mazard found some in. superable objection. One was too long, another signi. fied Slippery Eel, another Big Bubble ; and these would be so inappropriate! I began to be very tired. I tried romantic names; but these again did not suit any of us. At length I decided by lot, writing ten of the most sounding names I could muster from my novel reading stores, on slips of paper, which were mingled in a shako, and out came Montacute. How many matters of greater importance are thus decided.
As I am recording the sacred events of History, I'll not bate one nail's breadth of the honest truth.
Hope, thou bold taster of delight,
Much was yet to be done this morning, and I was too much fatigued to wander about the hills any longer; so I sought shelter in a log-house at no great distance, to await the conclusion of the survey. I was received with a civil nod by the tall mistress of the mansion, and with a curiously grave and somewhat sweeping curtsey by her auburn-tressed daughter, whose hair was in curl papers, and her hands covered with dough. The room was occupied at one end by two large beds not partitioned off “ private like,” but curtained in with cotton sheets pinned to the unhewn rafters. Between them stood a chest, and over the chest hung the Sun. day wardrobe of the family ; the go-to-meeting hats and bonnets, frocks and pantaloons of a goodly number of all sizes.
The great open hearth was at the opposite end of the house, flanked on one side by an open cupboard, and on the other by a stick ladder.
Large broadside sheets, caravan show bills were
pasted on the logs in different places, garnished with mammoth elephants, and hippopotamuses, over which “predominated ” Mr. Van Amburgh, with his head in the lion's mouth. A strip of dingy listing was nailed in such a way as to afford support for a few iron spoons, a small comb, and sundry other articles grouped with the like good taste ; but I must return to my fair hostesses.
They seemed to be on the point of concluding their morning duties. The hearth was newly swept, a tin reflector was before the fire, apparently full of bread, or something equally important. The young lady was placing some cups and plates in a pyramidal pile on the cupboard shelf, when the mother, after taking my bonnet with grave courtesy, said something, of which I could only distinguish the words “slick up.”
She soon after disappeared behind one of the white screens I have mentioned, and in an incredibly short time emerged in a different dress. Then taking down the comb I have hinted at, as exalted to a juxtaposition with the spoons, she seated herself opposite to me, unbound her very
abundant brown tresses, and proceeded to comb them with great deliberateness ; occasionally speering a question at me, or bidding Miss Irene (pronounced Irenee) “mind the bread.” When she had finished, Miss Irene took the comb and went through the same exercise, and both scattered the loose hairs on the floor with a coolness that made me shudder when I thought of my dinner, which had become, by means of the morning's ramble, a subject of peculiar interest. A little iron 6 wash-dish,” such as I had seen in the morn. ing, was now produced ; the young lady vanished-re.