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which only made his case more desperate. A few moments more would have left us with a “single team,” when his master succeeded in cutting the traces with his penknife. Once freed, Prince soon made his way out of the bog-hole and pranced off, far up the green swelling hill which lay before us—out of sight in an instant-and there we sat in the marsh.
There is but one resource in such cases. You must mount your remaining horse if you have one, and ride on till you find a farmer and one, two, or three pairs of oxen—and all this accomplished, you may generally hope for a release in time.
The interval seemed a leetle tedious, I confess. To sit for three mortal hours in an open waggon, under a hot sun, in the midst of a swamp, is not pleasant. The expanse of inky mud which spread around us, was hopeless, as to any attempt at getting ashore. I crept cautiously down the tongue, and tried one or two of the tempting green tufts, which looked as if they might afford foothold; but alas ! they sank under the slightest pressure. So I was fain to re-gain my low chair, with its abundant cushions, and lose myself in a book. The children thought it fine fun for a little while, but then they began to want a drink. I never knew chil. dren who did not, when there was no water to be had.
There ran through the very midst of all this black pud. ding, as clear a stream as ever rippled, and the waggon stood almost in it!—but how to get at it? The basket which had contained, when we left the city, a store of cakes and oranges, which the children thought inex. haustible, held now, nothing but the napkins, which
had enveloped those departed joys, and those napkins, suspended corner-wise, and soaked long and often in the crystal water, served for business and pleasure, till papa came back.
“ They're coming! They 're coming !” was the cry, and with the word, over went Miss Alice, who had been reaching as far as she could, trying how large a proportion of her napkin she could let float on the water.
Oh, the shrieks and the exclamations ! how hard papa rode, and how hard mamma scolded! but the little witch got no harm beyond a thorough wetting, and a few streaks of black mud, and felt herself a heroine for the rest of the day.
Rous'd at his name, up rose the boozy sire,
* * * * * * * *
The night dews were falling chill and heavy when we crossed the last log-causeway, and saw a dim glimmering in the distance. The children were getting horribly cross and sleepy. The unfortunate anchoring in the black swamp had deranged our plans by about three hours, and when we reached our destined restingplace, which was the log-house where I had been so happy as to make the acquaintance of Miss Irene Ketchum, and her dignified mamma, the family had retired to rest, except Mr. Ketchum, who rested without retiring.
The candle, a long twelve I should judge, was standing on the table, and wasting rapidly under the influence of a very long snuff, which reclined upon its side. Upon the same table, and almost touching the tall iron candlestick, was a great moppy head ; and this head rested in heavy slumber on the brawny arms of the master of the house.
“ Ketchum ! Ketchum !" echoed a shrill voice from within the pinned-up sheets in one corner, and I might have thought the woman was setting the dog at us, if I had not recognized the dulcet-treble of the fair Irene from the other bed- -- Pa, pa, get up, can't you ?”
Thus conjured, the master of the mansion tried to overcome the still potent effects of his evening pota. tions, enough to understand what was the matter, but in vain. He could only exclaim, “What the devil's got into the women?” and down went the head again.
Mrs. Ketchum had, by this time, exchanged the night for the day cap, and made herself, otherwise, tolerably presentable. She said she had supposed we were not coming, it was so late; (it was just half-past eight) and then, like many other poor souls I have known, tried hard to hide her husband's real difficulty.
“ He was so tired! ” she said.
How long the next hour seemed ! A summer day in some company I wot of, would not seem half as tedi.
It took all papa's ingenuity, and more than all mamma's patience to amuse the poor children, till mat. ters were arranged; but at length the important matter of supper being in some sort concluded, preparations were made for a retiracy.”
Up the stick-ladder we all paced " slowly and sadly." Miss Irene preceding us with the remnant of the long twelve, leaving all below in darkness. The aspect of our lodging-place was rather portentous. Two bed. steads, which looked as if they might, by no very vio. lent freak of nature, have grown into their present form, a good deal of bark being yet upon them,
occupied the end opposite the stairs; and between them was a window, without either glass or shutterthat is to say, politeness aside,, a square hole in the house. Three beds spread upon the floor, two chests, and a spinning-wheel, with reel and swifts, completed the plenishing of the room. Two of the beds were already tenanted, as the vibrations of the floor might have told us without the aid of ears, (people snore in. credibly after ploughing all day,) and the remainder were at our service. The night air pouring in at the aperture seemed to me likely to bring death on its dewy wings, and when I looked up and saw the stars shining through the crevices in the roof, I thought I might ven. ture to have the wider rent closed, although I had been sensible of some ill resulting from the close quarters at Danforth's So a quilt, that invaluable resource in the woods, was stuck up before the window, and the unhinged cover of one of the chests was used as a lid for the stair-way, for fear the children might fall down. Sheets served to partition off a “ tyring room” round my bed-an expedient frequently resorted to—and so dangerous that it is wonderful that so few houses are burnt down in this country. And thus passed my first night in Montacute.
I do not remember experiencing, at any time in my life, a sense of more complete uncomfortableness than was my lot, on awaking the next morning. It seemed to arise entirely from my anticipations of the awk. ward and tedious inconveniences of our temporary sojourn at this place, where every thing was so different from our ideas of comfort, or even decency. But I have since been convinced, that sleeping in an ex.