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able desk, or realized that a bottle of ink might be reckoned among one's treasures. Our preparations for residence were on a very
limited scale, for we had no idea of inhabiting the loggery more than six weeks or two months at farthest. Our new dwelling was to be put up immediately, and our arrangements were to be only temporary. So easily are people deluded!
The Montacute mill was now in progress, and had grown (on paper,) in a short time from a story and a half to four stories; its capabilities of all sorts being proportionably increased. The tavern was equally for. tunate, for Mr. Mazard had undertaken its erection entirely on his own account, as a matter of speculation, feeling, he said, quite certain of selling it for double its cost whenever he should wish. The plan of the publichouse was the production of his teeming brain, and exhibited congenial intricacies ; while the windows re. sembled his own eyes in being placed too near together, and looking all manner of ways. Several smaller buildings were also in progress, and for all these workmen at a high rate of wages were to be collected and provided for.
I could not but marvel how so many carpenters had happened to “locate” within a few miles of each other in this favoured spot; but I have since learned that a plane, a chisel, and two dollars a day make a carpenter in Michigan.
Mill-wrights too are remarkably abundant; but I have never been able to discover any essential difference between them and the carpenters, except that they receive three dollars per diem, which, no doubt, creates a distinction in time.
Our mill-wright was a little round-headed fellow with a button nose, a very Adonis, in his own eyes, and most aptly named Puffer, since never did a more consequen. tial dignitary condescend to follow a base mechanical calling. His statements, when he condescended to make any, were always given with a most magisterial air ; and no suggestion, however skilfully insinuated or gently offered, was ever received without an air of insulted dignity, and a reiteration of his own conviction that it was probable he understood his business.
It is to be ascribed to this gentleman's care and accuracy that Mr. Clavers has since had the satisfaction of appearing as defendant in several suits at law, brought by those of his neighbours whose property had been doubled in value by the erection of the mill, and who therefore thought they might as well see what else they could get, to recover the value of sundry acres of wet marsh made wetter by the flowing back of the pond, while Mr. Puffer's calculations and le. vels prove most satisfactorily (on paper) that the pond had no business to flow back so far, and that therefore malice itself could ascribe no fault to his management.
But to return. Our own dwelling was to be built at the same time with all those I have mentioned ; and materials for the whole were to be brought by land carriage from two to thirty miles. To my inexperienced brain, these undertakings seemed nothing less than gigantic. I used to dream of the pyramids of Egypt, and the great wall of China, and often thought, during my waking hours, of the tower on Shinar's plain," and employed myself in conjectural comparisons between the confusion which punished the projectors of that
edifice, and the difficulties which beset the builders of Montacute.
“No brick come yet, sir! Dibble couldn't get no white wood lumber at I. (thirty miles off,) so he stopt and got what lime there was at Jones's; but they hadn't only four bushels, and they wouldn't burn again till week after next; and that 'ere sash that came from
is all of three inches too large for the window frames; and them doors was made of such green stuff, that they won't go together no how."
“ Well, you can go on with the roof surely!
“Why, so we could ; but you know, sir, oak-shingle wouldn't answer for the mill, and there's no pine shingle short of Detroit.” “Can't the dwelling-honise be raised to-day then?”
Why, we calc'lated to raise to-day, sir ; but that fellow never came to dig the cellar."
6 Go on with the blacksmith's shop, then, since no. thing else can be done.”
“ Yes, sir, certainly. Shall we take that best white 'wood siding ? for you know the oak siding never came from Tacker's mill.”
6 Send Thomson for it, then.”
“ Well, Thomson's best horse is so lame that he can't use him to-day, and the other is a-drawin' tim. ber for the dam." 66 Let John
my horses." John's wife's sick, and he's got your horses and gone for the doctor."
But if I should fill pages with these delays and disappointments, I should still fail to give any idea of the real vexations of an attempt to build on any but the
smallest scale in a new country. You discover a thousand requisites that you had never thought of, and it is well if you do not come to the angry conclusion that every body is in league against you and your plans. Perhaps the very next day after you have by extra personal exertion, an offer of extra price, or a bonus in some other form, surmounted some prodi. gious obstacle, you walk down to survey operations with a comfortable feeling of self.gratulation, and find yourself in complete solitude, every soul having gone off to election or town meeting. No matter at what distance these important affairs are transacted, so fair an excuse for a ploy can never pass unimproved ; and the virtuous indignation which is called forth by any attempt at dissuading one of the sovereigns from exer. cising “ the noblest privilege of a freeman,” to forward your business and his own, is most amusingly provok. ing.
I once ventured to say, in my feminine capacity merely, and by way of experiment, to a man whose family I knew to be suffering for want of the ordinary comforts :
" I should suppose it must be a great sacrifice for you, Mr. Fenwick, to spend two days in going to elec. tion.”
The reply was given with the air of Forrest's Wil. liam Tell, and in a tone which would have rejoiced Miss Martineau's heart—“ Yes, to be sure ; but ought not a man to do his duty to his country ?”
This was unanswerable, of course. I hope it consoled poor Mrs. Fenwick, whose tattered gown would have been handsomely renewed by those two days' wages.
As may be conjectured from the foregoing slight sketch of our various thwartings and hinderances, the neat framed house which had been pictured on my mind's eye so minutely, and which I coveted with such enthusiasm, was not built in a month, nor in two, nor yet in three ;—but I anticipate again.
The circumstance of living all summer, in the same apartment with a cooking fire, I had never happened to see alluded to in any of the elegant sketches of western life which had fallen under my notice. It was not until I actually became the inmate of a log dwell. ing in the wilds, that I realized fully what “ living all in one room” meant. The sleeping apparatus for the children and the sociable Angeline, were in the loft; but my own bed, with its cunning fence of curtains ; my bureau, with its 66
Alps on Alps” of boxes and books ; my entire cooking array; my centre-table, which bore, sad change! the remains of to-day's dinner, and the preparations for to-morrow, all covered mysteriously under a large cloth, the only refuge from the mice: these and ten thousand other things, which a summer's day would not suffice me to enumerate, cumbered this one single apartment; and to crown the whole was the inextinguishable fire, which I had en. tirely forgotten when I magnanimously preferred living in a log-house, to remaining in Detroit till a house could be erected. I had, besides the works to which I have alluded, dwelt with delight on Chateaubriand's Atala, where no such vulgar inconvenience is once hinted at; and my floating visions of a home in the woods were full of important omissions, and always in a Floridian clime, where fruits serve for vivers.