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that whatever is quite unnatural, or absolutely incredible, in the few incidents which diversify the following pages, is to be received as literally true. It is only in the most commonplace parts (if there be comparisons) that I have any leasing-making to answer for.
It will of course be observed that Miss Mitford's charming sketches of village life must have suggested the form of my rude attempt. I dare not flatter myself that any one will be led to accuse me of further imitation of a deservedly popular writer. And with such brief salvo, I make my humble curtsey.
A NEW HOME.
Here are seen
Oh, there is not lost
Our friends in the settlements” have expressed so much interest in such of our letters to them, as happened to convey any account of the peculiar features of western life, and have asked so many questions, touching particulars which we had not thought worthy of mention, that I have been for some time past con. templating the possibility of something like a detailed account of our experiences. And I have determined to give them to the world, in a form not very different from that in which they were originally recorded for our private delectation; nothing doubting, that a vera. cious history of actual occurrences, an unvarnished transcript of real characters, and an impartial record of every-day forms of speech (taken down in many cases from the lips of the speaker) will be pronounced “graphic," by at least a fair proportion of the journalists of the day.
'Tis true there are but meagre materials for anything which might be called a story. I have never seen a cougar—nor been bitten by a rattlesnake. The reader who has patience to go with me to the close of my de. sultory sketches, must expect nothing beyond a meandering recital of common-place occurrences—mere gossip about every-day people, little enhanced in value by any fancy or ingenuity of the writer ; in short, a very ordinary pen-drawing; which, deriving no interest from colouring, can be valuable only for its truth.
A home on the outskirts of civilization-habits of society which allow the maid and her mistress to do the honours in complete equality, and to make the social tea visit in loving conjunction—such a distribution of the duties of life as compels all, without distinction, to rise with the sun or before him—to breakfast with the chickens—then,
6. Count the slow clock and dine exact at noon".
to be ready for tea at four, and for bed at eight-may certainly be expected to furnish some curious particulars for the consideration of those whose daily course almost reverses this primitive arrangement—who “cal! night day and day night," and who are apt occasion. ally to forget, when speaking of a particular class, that
« those creatures” are partakers with themselves of a common nature.
I can only wish, like other modest chroniclers, my re. spected prototypes, that so fertile a theme had fallen into worthier hands. If Miss Mitford, who has given us such charming glimpses of Aberleigh, Hilton Cross and the Loddon, had by some happy chance been translated to Michigan, what would she not have made of such materials as Tinkerville, Montacute, and the Turnip ?
When my husband purchased two hundred acres of wild land on the banks of this to-be-celebrated stream, and drew with a piece of chalk on the bar-room table at Danforth's the plan of a village, I little thought I was destined to make myself famous by handing down to posterity a faithful record of the advancing fortunes of that favoured spot.
“ The madness of the people" in those days of golden dreams took more commonly the form of city-building; but there were a few who contented themselves with planning villages, on the banks of streams which cer. tainly never could be expected to bear navies, but which might yet be turned to account in the more homely way of grinding or sawing-operations which must necessarily be performed somewhere for the wellbeing of those very cities. It is of one of these humble attempts that it is my lot to speak, and I make my confession at the outset, warning any fashionable reader who
may have taken up my book, that I intend to be “decidedly low.”
Whether the purchaser of our village would have been moderate under all possible circumstances, I am not prepared to say, since, never having enjoyed a situa
tion under government, his resources have not been unlimited ;—and for this reason any remark which may be hazarded in the course of these my lucubrations touching the more magnificent plans of wealthier as. pirants, must be received with some grains of allow.
« Il est plus aisé d'être sage pour les autres, que de l'être
pour soi-même.” When I made my first visit to these remote and lonely regions, the scattered woods through which we rode for many miles were gay in their first gosling-green suit of half-opened leaves, and the forest odours which exhaled with the dews of morning and evening, were beyond measure delicious to one “long in populous cities pent.'
I desired much to be a little sentimental at the time, and feel tempted to indulge to some small extent even here—but I forbear; and shall adhere closely to matters more in keeping with my subject.
I think, to be precise, the time was the last, the very last of April, and I recollect well that even at that early season, by availing myself with sedulous application, of those times when I was fain to quit the vehicle through fear of the perilous inud-holes, or still more perilous half-bridged marshes, I picked upwards of twenty varieties of wild-flowers—some of them of rare and delicate beauty ;-and sure I am, that if I had succeeded in inspiring my companion with one spark of my own floral enthusiasm, one hundred miles of travel would have occupied a week's time.
The wild flowers of Michigan deserve a poet of their own. Shelley, who sang so quantly of the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall,” would have found many a fanciful comparison and deep-drawn meaning for the