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very tremendous even to the city habits I brought with
me; and I cannot say I regret having been obliged to relinquish what was, after all, rather a silly sort of pride. But bless me! how I get before my story! - I viewed the matter very differently when I was at Ketchum's. My philosophy was of slow growth.
On reflection, it was thought best not to add another sleeper to the loft, and I concluded to wait on myself and the children while we remained at Ketchum's, which we hoped would be but for a day or two. I can only say, I contrived to simplify the matter very much, when I had no one to depend on but myself. The children had dirty faces, and aprons which would have effected their total exclusion from genteel society more than half the time ; and I was happy to encourage the closest intimacy between them and the calves and chickens, in order to gain some peace within doors. Mrs. Ketchum certainly had her own troubles during our sojourn under her leaky roof; for the two races commingled not without loud and long effervescence, threatening at times nothing short of a Kilkenny cat battle, ending in mutual extermination.
My office, on these occasions, was an humble imitation of the plan of the celestials in ancient times; to snatch away the combatant in whom I was most inte. rested, and then to secrete him for a while, using as a desert island one of the beds in the loft, where the unfortunate had to dree a weary penance, and generally came down quite tame.
The ripeness or unripeness of the occasion must ever be well weighed; and generally, it is good to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Briareus with his hundred hands.-Bacon.
Trust not yourself; but your defects to know
The log-house, which was to be our temporary home, was tenanted at this time ; and we were obliged to wait while the incumbent could build a framed one; the materials for which had been growing in the woods not long before ; I was told it would take but a short time, as it was already framed.
What was my surprise, on walking that way to ascertain the progress of things, to find the materials still scattered on the ground, and the place quite soli. tary.
“ Did not Mr. Ketchum say Green's house was framed ?" said I to the dame du palais, on my return; “ the timbers are all lying on the ground, and nobody at work."
6 Why, la ! so they be all framed, and Green's gone to for the sash. They'll be ready to raise to. morrow.”
It took me some time to understand that framing was nothing more than cutting the tenons and mortices
ready for putting the timbers together, and that these must be raised before there could be a frame. And that “ sash,” which I in my ignorance supposed could be but for one window, was a generic term.
The “ raising” took place the following afternoon, and was quite an amusing scene to us cockneys, until one man's thumb was frightfully mashed, and another had a severe blow upon the head. A jug of whiskey was pointed out by those who understood the matter, as the true cause of these disasters, although the Fates got the blame.
« Jem White always has such bad luck !” said Mr. Ketchum, on his return from the raising, “ and word spake never more,” for that night at least ; for he disappeared behind the mysterious curtain, and soon snored most sonorously.
The many raisings which have been accomplished at Montacute, without that ruinous ally, strong drink, since the days of which I speak, have been free from accidents of any sort; Jem White having carried his “ bad luck” to a distant county, and left his wife and children to be taken care of by the public.
Our cottage bore about the same proportion to the articles we had expected to put into it, that the “ “ lytell hole" did to the fiend whom Virgilius cajoled into its narrow compass; and the more we reflected, the more certain we became that without the magic powers of necromancy, one half of our moveables at least must re. main in the open air. To avoid such necessity, Mr. Clavers was obliged to return to Detroit and provide storage for sundry unwieldy boxes which could by no art of ours be conjured into our cot.
While he was absent, Green had enclosed his new house ; that is to say put on the roof and the siding, and laid one floor, and forthwith he removed thither without door, window or chimney, a course by no means unusu. al in Michigan.
As I was by this time, truth to speak, very nearly starved, I was anxious to go as soon as possible to a place where I could feel a little more at home ; and so completely had my nine days at Ketchum's brought down my ideas, that I anticipated real satisfaction in a removal to this hut in the wilderness. I would not wait for Mr. Clavers's return; but insisted on setting up for myself at once.
But I should in vain attempt to convey to those who know nothing of the woods, any idea of the difficulties in my way.
If one's courage did not increase, and one's invention brighten under the stimulus of such occasions, I should have given up at the outset, as I have often done with far less cause.
It was no easy matter to get a "lady” to clean the place, and ne'er had place more need of the tutelary aid of the goddess of scrubbing brushes. Then this lady must be provided with the necessary utensils, and here arose dilemma upon dilemma. Mrs. Ketchum rendered what aid she could, but there was little su. perfluous in her house.
And then, such racing and chasing, such messages and requisitions ! Mrs. Jennings “could n't do no. thin' without a mop, and I had not thought of such a thing and was obliged to sacrifice on the spot sundry nice towels, a necessity which made all the house. keeping blood in my veins tingle.
After one day's experience of this sort, I decided to go myself to the scene of action, so as to be at hand for these trying occasions; and I induced Mr. Ketchum to procure a waggon and carry to our new home the various articles which we had piled in a hovel on his premises.
Behold me then seated on a box, in the midst of as anomalous a congregation of household goods as ever met under one roof in the back-woods, engaged in the seemingly hopeless task of calling order out of chaos, attempting occasionally to throw out a hint for the instruction of Mrs. Jennings, who uniformly replied by requesting me not to fret, as she knew what she was about.
Mr. Jennings, with the aid of his sons, undertook the release of the pent up myriads of articles which cram. med the boxes, many of which though ranked when they were put in as absolutely essential, seemed ridicu. lously superfluous when they came out. The many ob. servations made by the spectators as each new wonder made its appearance, though at first rather amusing, became after a while quite vexatious; for the truth be. gan to dawn upon me that the common sense was all on their side.
“What on airth's them gimcracks for ?" said my lady, as a nest of delicate japanned tables were set out upon the uneven floor.
I tried to explain to her the various convenient uses to which they were applicable ; but she looked very scornfully after all and said " I guess they 'll do better for kindlin's than any thing else, here." And I began to cast a disrespectful glance upon them myself, and