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Art thou so confident ? within what space
All's well that ends well.
MR. Clavers at length returned ; and the progress of the village, though materially retarded by the obli. quities of Mr. Mazard's course, was still not entirely at a stand. If our own operations were slow and doubt. ful, there were others whose building and improving went on at a rapid rate; and before the close of sum. mer, several small tenements were enclosed and ren. dered in some sort habitable. A store and a public house were to be ready for business in a very short time.
I had the pleasure of receiving early in the month of September, a visit from a young city friend, a charming lively girl, who unaffectedly enjoyed the pleasures of the country, and whose taste for long walks and rides was insatiable. I curtained off with the unfailing cotton sheets a snow-white bower for her in the loft, and spread a piece of carpeting, a relic of former magnificence, over the loose boards that served for a floor. The foot square window was shaded by a pink curtain, and a bed-side chair and a candle-stand completed a sleeping apartment which she declared was perfectly delightful.
So smoothly flowed our days during that charming
visit that I had begun to fear my fair guest would be obliged to return to without a single adventure worth telling, when one morning as we sat sewing, Arthur ran in with a prodigious snake-story, to which, though we were at first disposed to pay no attention, we were at length obliged to listen.
" A most beautiful snake,” he declared, “was com. ing up to the back door."
To the back door we ran ; and there, to be sure, was a large rattle-snake, or massasauga, lazily winding its course towards the house, Alice standing still to ad. mire it, too ignorant to fear.
My young friend snatched up a long switch, whose ordinary office was to warn the chickens from the din. ner-table, and struck at the reptile which was not three feet from the door. It reared its head at once, made several attempts to strike, or spring, as it is called here, though it never really springs. Fanny continued to strike; and at length the snake turned for flight, not however without a battle of at least two minutes.
6 Here's the axe, cousin Fanny,” said Arthur, “ don't let him run away!" and while poor I stood in silent ter. ror, the brave girl followed, struck once ineffectually, and with another blow divided the snake, whose writh. ings turned to the sun as many hues as the windings of Broadway on a spring morning—and Fanny was a heroine.
It is my opinion that next to having a cougar spring at one, the absolute killing of a rattle-snake is pecu. liarly appropriate to constitute a Michigan heroine ;and the cream of my snake-story is, that it might be
sworn to, chapter and verse, before the nearest justice. What cougar story can say as much ?
But the nobler part of the snake ran away with far more celerity than it had displayed while it “could a tail unfold,” and we exalted the coda to a high station on the logs at the corner of the house—for fear none of the scornful sex would credit our prowess.
That snake absolutely haunted us for a day or two; we felt sure that there were more near the house, and our ten days of happiness seemed cut short like those of Seged, and by a cause not very dissimilar. But the gloom consequent upon confining ourselves, children and all, to the house, in delicious weather, was too much for our prudence; and we soon began to venture out a little, warily inspecting every nook, and harass
children with incessant cautions. We had been watching the wheelings and fittings of a flock of prairie hens, which had alighted in Mr. Jenkins's corn-field, turning ever and anon a delighted glance westward at the masses of purple and crimson which make sunset so splendid in the region of the great lakes. I felt the dew, and warning all my com. panions, stepped into the house. I had reached the middle of the room, when I trod full upon something soft, which eluded my foot. I shrieked “a snake! a snake !" and fell senseless on the floor.
When I recovered myself I was on the bed, and well sprinkled with camphor, that never failing specific in the woods.
66 Where is it?" said I, as soon as I could utter a word. There was a general smile. “Why, mamma," said Alice, who was exalted to a place on the bed,
“ dont you recollect that great toad that always sits behind the flour-barrel in the corner ?"
I did not repent my fainting though it was not a snake, for if there is anything besides a snake that curdles the blood in my veins it is a toad. The harmless wretch was carried to a great distance from the house, but the next morning, there it sat again in the corner catching flies. I have been told by some persons here that they “ liked to have toads in the room in fly time.” Truly may it be said, “ What 's one man's meatof Chesterfield, forgive me !—but that any body can be willing to live with a toad! To my thinking nothing but a toady can be more odious.
The next morning I awoke with a severe head-ache, and racking pains in every bone. Dame Jennings said it was the “agur.” I insisted that it could be nothing but the toad. The fair Fanny was obliged to leave us this day, or lose her escort home—a thing not to be risked in the wilderness. I thought I should get up to dinner, and in that hope bade her a gay farewell, with a charge to make the most of the snake story for the honour of the woods.
I did not get up to dinner, for the simple reason that I could not stand—and Mrs. Jennings consoled me by telling me every ten minutes, “Why, you ’ve got th' agur! woman alive! Why, I know the fever-agur as well as I know beans! It aʼn't nothin' else !"
But no chills came. My pains and my fever be. came intense, and I knew but little about it after the first day, for there was an indistinctness about my per. ceptions, which almost, although not quite, amounted to delirium.
A physician was sent for, and we expected, of course, some village Galen, who knew just enough to bleed and blister, for all mortal ills. No such thing! A man of firstrate education, who had walked European hospitals, and who had mother-wit in abundance, to enable him to profit by his advantages. It is surprising how many such people one meets in Michigan. Some, indeed, we have been led to suppose, from some traits in their American history, might have “ left their country for their coun. try's good :"-others appear to have forsaken the old world, either in consequence of some temporary disgust, or through romantic notions of the liberty to be enjoyed in this favoured land. I can at this moment call to mind, several among our ten-mile neighbours, who can boast University honours, either European or American, and who are reading men, even now. Yet one might pass any one of these gentlemen in the road without distinguishing between him and the Corydon who curries his horses, so complete is their outward transformation.
Our medical friend, treated me very judiciously ; and by his skill, the severe attack of rheumatic-fever, which my sunset and evening imprudences had been kindling in my veins, subsided after a week, into a daily ague ; but Mrs. Jennings was not there to exult in this proof of her sagacity. She had been called away to visit a daughter, who had been taken ill at a distance from home, and I was left without a nurse.
My neighbours showed but little sympathy on the occasion, They had imbibed the idea that we held ourselves above them, and chose to take it for granted, that we did not need their aid. There were a good