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large tufted masses in a marsh are so called in Michigan,) which had fortunately received me in falling, and laughed till I cried to see my companion hunting for his spectacles, and D’Orsay (whom I ought sooner to have introduced to my reader) looking on with a face of most evident wonder. D'Orsay, my beautiful greyhound, was our compagnon de voyage, and had caused us much annoyance by his erratic propensities, so that we were obliged to tie him in the back part of the bug. gy, and then watch very closely that he did not free himself of his bonds.
Just at this moment a pedestrian traveller, a hardfeatured, yellow-haired son of New England, came up, with a tin trunk in his hand, and a small pack or knapsack strapped on his shoulders,
6 Well ! I swan!” said he with a grim smile, “I never see any thing slicker than that! Why, you went over jist as easy! You was goin' to try if the mash wouldn't be softer ridin', I s'pose."
Mr. Clavers disclaimed any intention of quitting the causeway, and pointed to my unfortunate pyramid of pale pink blossoms as the cause of our disaster.
“What ! them posies? Why, now, to my thinking, a good big double marygold is as far before them pink lilies as can be: but I'll see if I can't get 'em for you if you want 'em."
By this time, the carriage was again in travelling trim, and D'Orsay tolerably resigned to his imprisoned state. The flowers were procured, and most delicately beautiful and fragrant they were. Mr. Clavers offered guerdon-remuneration, but our
oriental friend seemed shy of accepting any thing of the sort.
“ If you've a mind to trade, I've got a lot o' notions I'd like to sell you,” said he.
So my travelling basket was crammed with essences, pins, brass thimbles, and balls of cotton ; while Mr. Clavers possessed himself of a valuable outfit of pocketcombs, suspenders, and cotton handkerchiefs assortment which made us very popular on that road for some time after.
We reached the city in due time, and found our hotel crowded to suffocation. The western fever was then at its height, and each day brought its thousands to Detroit. Every tavern of every calibre was as well filled as ours, and happy he who could find a bed any where. Fifty cents was the price of six feet by two of the bar-room floor, and these choice lodgings were sometimes disposed of by the first served at “thirty per cent. advance.” The country inns were thronged in proportion; and your horse's hay cost you nowhere less than a dollar per diem ; while, throughout the whole territory west of Detroit, the only masticable articles set before the thousands of hungry travellers were salt ham and bread, for which you had the satisfaction of paying like a prince.
Notre sagesse n'est pas moins à la merci de la fortune que nos biens.
Your horse's hoof-tread sounds too rude,
OUR breakfast-table at
House was surround. ed by as motley a crew as Mirth ever owned. The standing ornament of the upper end was a very large light-blue crape turban, which turban surmounted the prolonged face of a lady, somewhere (it is not polite to be exact in these matters) between forty and fifty, and also partly concealed a pair of ears from which depended ear-rings whose pendants rested not far from the Apalachian collar-bones of the dignified wearer. This lady, turban and ear-rings, were always in their places before the eggs came, and remained long after the last one had disappeared—at least, I judge so; for I, who always take my chance (rash enough in this case) for a breakfast, never saw her seat vacant. Indeed, as I never met her anywhere else, I might have supposed her a fixture, the production of some American Maelzel, but that the rolling of her very light grey eyes was quite different from that of the dark Persian orbs of the chess-player ; while an occasional word came to my ear with a sharp sound, even more startling than the “ Echec” of that celebrated personage.
Another very conspicuous member of our usual party was a lady in mourning, whom I afterwards discovered to be a great beauty. I had indeed observed that she wore a great many curls, and that these curls were carefully arranged and bound with a ribbon, so as to make the most of a pair of dark eyes ; that nothing that could be called throat was ever enviously shaded, even at breakfast; and that a pair of delicately white hands, loaded with rings of all hues, despite the mourning garments, were never out of sight. But I did not learn that she was a beauty till I met her long after at a brilliant evening party in rouge and blonde, and with difficulty recognized my neighbour of the breakfast. table.
But if I should attempt to set down half my recollec. tions of that piquant and changeful scene,
I should never get on with my story: so, begging pardon, I will pass over the young ladies, who never were hungry, and their papas, who could never be satisfied, and their brothers, who could not get any thing fit to eat; the crimson. faced célibataire, who always ate exactly three eggs, and three slices of bread and butter, and drank three cups of tea, and then left the table, performing the whole in perfect silence; the lady, who played good mamma, and would ever have her two babies at the table with her, aud feed them on sausage and strong coffee, without a mouthful of bread ; and the shoals of speculators, fat and lean, rich and poor, young and old, dashing and shabby, who always looked very hungry, but could not take time to eat. I saw them only at breakfast, for the rest of the day we usually spent else. where.
While we were awaiting the arrival of our chattels from the east, Mr. Clavers accepted an invitation to accompany a party of these breakfast-table companions last mentioned, men of substance literally and figura. tively, who were going to make a tour with a view to the purchase of one or two cities. Ponies, knapsacks, brandy-bottles, pocket-compasses, blankets, lucifers, great India rubber boots, coats of the same, and caps with immense umbrella capes to them : these things are but a beginning of the outfit necessary for such an expedition. It was intended to “ camp out” as often as might be desirable, to think nothing of fasting for a day or so, and to defy the ague and all its works by the aid of the potent exorcisor contained in the bottles above mentioned. One of the company, an idler from
almost as keen in his pursuit of game as of money, and he carried a double-barrelled fowling-piece, with all things thereunto appertaining, in addition to his other equipments, giving a finishing touch to the grotesque cortége. My only parting charge to my quota of the expedition was to keep out of the water, and to take care of his spectacles. I should have cautioned him against buying a city, but that he was never very ambitious, and already owned Montacute. He went merely pour se désennuyer; and I remained at the very focus of this strange excitement an unconcerned spectator, weary enough of the unvarying theme which appeared to fill the whole soul of the community.
The party were absent just four days; and a more dismal sight than they presented on their return cannot well be imagined. Tired and dirty, cross and hungry, were they all. No word of adventures, no boasting of