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appeared in a scarlet circassian dress, and more combs in her hair than would dress a belle for the court of St. James ; and forthwith both mother and daughter proceeded to set the table for dinner.
The hot bread was cut into huge slices, several bowls of milk were disposed about the board, a pint bowl of yellow pickles, another of apple sauce, and a third con. taining mashed potatoes took their appropriate stations, and a dish of cold fried pork was brought out from some recess, heated and re-dished, when Miss Irene proceeded to blow the horn.
The sound seemed almost as magical in its effects as the whistle of Roderick Dhu ; for, solitary as the whole neighbourhood had appeared to me in the morning, not many moments elapsed before in came men and boys enough to fill the table completely. I had made sundry resolutions not to touch a mouthful ; but I confess I felt somewhat mortified when I found there was no opportunity to refuse.
After the “wash dish” had been used in turn, and various handkerchiefs had performed, not for that occasion only, the part of towels, the lords of creation seated themselves at the table, and fairly demolished in grave silence every eatable thing on it. Then, as each one finished, he arose and walked off, till no one re. mained of all this goodly company but the red-faced heavy-eyed master of the house. This personage used his privilege by asking me five hundred questions, as to my birth, parentage, and education ; my opinion of Michigan, my husband's plans and prospects, business and resources ; and then said, “ he guessed he must be off.”
Meanwhile his lady and daughter had been clearing the table, and were now preparing to wash the dishes in an iron pot of very equivocal-looking soapsuds, which stood in a corner of the chimney place, rinsing each piece in a pan of clean water, and then setting it to 6 dreen” on a chair. I watched the process with no increasing admiration of Michigan economics—thought wofully of dinner, and found that Mrs. Danforth's breakfast table, which had appeared in the morning frugal and homely enough, was filling my mind's eye as the very acme of comfort. Every thing is relative.
But now, prospects began to brighten; the tea-kettle was put on; the table was laid again with the tea equipage and a goodly pile of still warm bread, redo. lent of milk yeast—the unfailing bowls of apple-sauce and pickles, a plate of small cakes, and a saucer of something green cut up in vinegar. I found we had only been waiting for a more lady-like meal, and having learned wisdom by former disappointment, I looked forward with no small satisfaction to something like refreshment.
The tea was made and the first cup poured, when in came my husband and Mr. Mazard. What was my dismay when I heard that I must mount and away on the instant! The buggy at the door—the sun setting, and the log causeway and the black slough yet to be encountered. I could not obtain a moment's respite, and I will not pretend to describe my vexation, when I saw on looking back our projector already seated at my predestined cup of tea, and busily engaged with my slice of bread and butter !
I walked over the logs in no very pleasant mood and when we reached the slough it looked blacker than ever. I could not possibly screw up my fainting courage to pass it in the carriage, and after some difficulty, a slender pole was found, by means of which I managed to get across, thinking all the while of the bridge by which good Mussulmans skate into Paradise, and wish. ing for no houri but good Mrs. Danforth.
We reached the inn after a ride which would have been delicious under other circumstances. The softest and stillest of spring atmospheres, the crimson rays yet prevailing, and giving an opal changefulness of hue to the half-opened leaves ;
“ The grass beneath them dimly green"could scarcely pass quite unfelt by one whose delight is in their beauty: but, alas! who can be sentimental and hungry?
I alighted with gloomy forebodings. The house was dark-could it be that the family had already stowed themselves away in their crowded nests? The fire was buried in ashes, the tea-kettle was cold—I sat down in the corner and cried.
I was awakened from a sort of doleful trance by the voice of our cheery hostess.
“Why, do tell if you've had no supper ! Well, I want to know! I went off to meetin' over to Joe Bun. ner's and never left nothing ready.”
But in a space of time which did not seem long even to me, my cup of tea was on the table, and the plate of snow-white rolls had no reason to complain of our neglect or indifference.
Such soon-speeding geer
The next day I was to spend in the society of my hostess; and I felt in no haste to quit my eyrie, although it was terribly close, but waited a call from one of the little maidens before I attempted my twilight toilet. When I descended the ladder, nobody was visible but the womankind.
After breakfast Mrs. Danforth mentioned that she was going about a mile into the woods to visit a neigh. bour whose son had been bitten by a Massisanga (I spell the word by ear) and was not expected to live.
I inquired of course- _" Why, law! it's a rattle. snake; the Indians call them Massisangas and so folks calls 'em so too." “ Are they often seen here ?"
Why, no, not very ; as far from the mash as this. I han't seen but two this spring, and them was he in the garden, and I killed 'em both." 66 You killed them !"
Why, law, yes !- Betsey come in one night after tea and told me on 'em, and we went out, and she held the candle while I killed them. But I tell you we had a real chase after them !"
My desire for a long walk through the woods, was somewhat cooled by this conversation ; nevertheless upon the good dame's reiterated assurance that there was no danger, and that she would“ as lief meet forty on 'em as not,” I consented to accompany her, and our path through the dim forest was as enchanting as one of poor Shelley's gemmed and leafy dreams. The distance seemed nothing and I scarcely remembered the rattle-snakes.
We found the poor boy in not quite so sad a case as had been expected. A physician had arrived from
about fourteen miles off, and had brought with him a quantity of spirits of Hartshorn, with which the poisoned limb had now been constantly bathed for some hours, while frequent small doses of the same specific had been administered. This course had produced a change, and the pale and weary mother had begun to hope.
The boy had been fishing in the stream which was to make the fortune of Montacute, and in kneeling to search for bait, had roused the snake which bit him just above the knee. The entire limb was frightfully swollen and covered with large livid spots “exactly like the snake," as the woman stated with an air of mysterious meaning.
When I saw the body of the snake, which the father had found without difficulty, and killed very near the scene of the accident, so slow are these creatures