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rows of peach and cherry trees border the ample door-yard; hedges of currant and gooseberry bushes intersect the garden; thick screens of wild grape and honeysuckle overshadow the porch and drapery the "squareroom" windows.
When you enter, you find bare but wellscrubbed floors; the only exception being found in the aforesaid "square-room," which is decorated with a home-made carpet of resplendent colours, large enough to reach (almost) the border of chairs, and shaken every morning on the grass to avoid the ravages of the wasteful broom. A great eight-day clock, with a moon on its face, is the most conspicuous ornament of the common or "keepin'-room;" but there is, besides this, in a favoured corner near the window, a small mirror, round which hang black profiles of all the family, including aunts and uncles; pincushions of every size and hue; strings of little birds' eggs; vials of camphor, peppermint, and essence of lemon; and perhaps a dozen other small articles much prized by different members
of the family; while over the glass wave a few peacock's feathers, and a whole plume of
Pass into the kitchen, and you will find Mrs. Hay kneading bread or rolling pie-crust, to give her stout handmaid time for some less delicate service; her daughter MarthyAnn preparing dinner; her daughter SophiaJane shelling peas; her daughter Harriet'Lizy rocking the cradle, in which lies yet another daughter, whose name is Apollonia,
not quite Apollyon, but so like it that I almost wonder that people who read John Bunyan should be fond of the appellation. The truth is, we do love high-sounding names, and the more syllables or adjuncts the better.
The kitchen has a great fire-place, with a crane stout enough to swing a five-pail kettle of soup, and a great oven too, that will hold at least a dozen country loaves. About the walls are disposed all the conveniences necessary for the full use of fireplace and oven, on the same plenteous scale. A rifle and a shot-gun hang on wooden
hooks driven into the rafters over-head; two or three gleaming butcher-knives ornament a leather strap fixed against the chimney. A meal-room near at hand contains several varieties of flour, and a buttery and milkhouse supply other rustic dainties in profusion. Is it not to be supposed that Mr. Hay and Mrs. Hay, and their five daughters, and their "help," and their three hired men, live well?
One daughter we have not introduced into the kitchen because she was seldom found there. Caroline Hay was delicate from her infancy, so much so that even her father was willing to see her excused from the more arduous part of domestic duty, and sent to school more constantly than were her sisters. But it was not without many misgivings that Mr. Hay observed the distinction which this circumstance made between his daughters. He dreaded, and with reason, that Caroline should become that useless and uncomfortable being, a pretty girl with just education enough to fill her with conceit and pretension, while her ex
emption from the household cares that occupied her mother and sisters would be likely to create in time an impression that she was of right entitled to superior respect and a higher destiny. And, in truth, the young lady herself had already begun to verify in part her father's sagacity, by exhibiting, on proper occasions, a very sufficient share of those airs which young ladies sometimes mistake for graces. In an especial degree did she scorn the beaux of the neighbourhood, who, accustomed to a favourable reception elsewhere, and not perceiving any possible reason why "Car'line Hay should 'stick up,'" disliked her in proportion. We forgive any thing but "sticking up."
The three hired men are curiosities in their way; and as I wish to present a sketch of a western settler's home of some dozen years' standing, I will say a few words about them, although two of them have no very direct interest in my story.
The elder, John Kendall, is a Titan, who looks able to play at quoits with almost any of our Michigan hills; a man of might,
whose very voice, as he shouts "Haw! Star!" or "Gee! Brin!" is enough to make the earth quake, and so supersede the necessity for using the immense plough which he guides with one hand. This is, of course, the head man where hard work is to be done.
Then comes (I take them as they sit at table) the rosy-cheeked, handsome, quizzical Tom Rice; one of those resolutely agreeable persons, who are always diving desperately after jokes, undeterred by the frequent mortification of coming up empty-handed. This youth is better drest than great John Kendall, and he is Mr. Hay's right-hand man in all matters requiring rather address than strength. He refreshes the memory of distant debtors; he buys and sells horses (he is a born horse-jockey), and superintends the training of the colts; he feels the pulse of the county as elections come round, and even addresses his fellow-citizens occasionally, when the town requires to be "redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled," from the sway of some unpopular assessor