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of the farm, except when Israel took a day, now and then, to attend his saw-mill.
With regard to domestic arrangements, everything connected with household affairs went on in the same course year after year, except that, as the daughters of the family improved in capability of work, Cloe, the black girl, retrograded. They washed on Monday (with the assistance of a woman, hired for the day), ironed on Tuesday, performed what they called "the little baking" on Wednesday, and “the big baking” on Friday; cleaned the house on Saturday, and clear-starched their book-muslin collars; rode on horseback to Friends' meeting on Sunday morning, and visited their neighbours on Sunday afternoon.
It was the day after the one on which Israel and his bride-elect had passed meeting, and, consequently, a month before the one fixed for the wedding, that something like an adventure fell among the Warner family.
It was a beautiful evening at the close of August. The father and son had been all day in the meadows, mowing the second crop of grass ; Mrs. Warner was darning stockings in the porch, with her two daughters knitting on the bench beside her; Amy being then fourteen, and Orphy
Orphy about twelve. Cloe was absent, having been borrowed by a relation, about five miles off, to do the general work of the house, while the family were engaged in preparing for a quilting frolic.
Come, girls,” said Mrs. Warner to her daughters, “it's just sun-down. The geese are coming home, and daddy and Israel will soon be here. Amy, do thee go down to the spring-house and bring up the milk and butter; and, Orphy, thee can set the table.”
The two girls put up their knitting (not, however, till they had knit to the middle of the needle), and in a short time Amy was seen coming back from the spring-house, with a large pitcher of milk and a plate of butter. In the meantime, Orphy had drawn out the ponderous claw-footed walnut table that stood all summer in the porch, and, spreading over it a brown linen cloth, placed in regular order their every-day supper equipage of pewter plates, earthen porringers, and iron spoons.
The viands consisted of an immense round loaf of bread, nearly as large as a grindstone, and made of wheat and Indian meal ; the half of a huge cheese, a piece of cold pork, a peach pie, and an apple pie; and, as it had been baking day, there was the customary addition of a rice pudding, in an earthen pan of stupendous size. The last finish to the decorations of the table was a large bowl of cool water, placed near the seat occupied by the father of the family, who never could begin any of his meals without a copious draught of the pure element.
In a few minutes, the farmer and his son made their appearance as they turned the angle of the peach orchard fence, preceded by the geese, their usual avant-couriers, who went out every morning to feed in an old field beyond the meadows.
As soon as Micajah and Israel had hung up their scythes, and washed themselves at the pump, they sat down to table; the farmer in his own blue-painted, highbacked, high-armed chair; and Israel taking the seat always allotted to him, a low chair, the rushes of which having long since deserted the bottom, had been replaced by cross pieces of cloth listing, ingeniously interwoven with each other; and this being, according to the general opinion, the worst seat in the house, always fell to the share of the young man, who was usually passive on all occasions, and never seemed to consider himself entitled to the same accommodation as the rest of the family,
Suddenly, the shrill blast of a tin trumpet resounded through the woods that covered the hill in front of the house, to the great disturbance of the geese, which had settled themselves quietly for the night in their usual bivouac around the ruins of an old wagon. The Warners ceased their supper to listen and look; and they saw emerging from the woods, and rattling down the hill at a brisk trot, the cart of one of those itinerant tin merchants, who originate in New England, and travel from one end of the Union to the other, avoiding the cities, and seeking customers among the country people; who, besides buying their ware, always invite them to a meal and a bed.
The tin-man came blowing his horn to the steps of the porch, and there stopping his cart, addressed the farmer's wife in the true nasal twang that characterizes the lower class of New Englanders, and inquired “if she had any notion of a bargain.” She replied that she believed that she had no occasion for anything ;" her customary answers to all such questions. But Israel, who looked into futurity, and entertained views towards his own housekeeping, stepped forward to the tin cart, and began to take down and examine various mugs, pans, kettles, and coffee-pots—the latter particularly, as he had a passion for coffee, which he secretly determined to indulge both morning and evening as soon as he was settled in his domicile.
“Mother,” said Amy, “I do wish thee would buy a new coffee-pot, for ours has been leaking all summer, and I have to stop it every morning with rye meal. Thee knows we can give the old one to Israel."
“ To be sure,” replied Mrs. Warner, “it will do well enough for young beginners. But I cannot say I feel quite free to buy a new coffee-pot at this time; I must consider about it."
“ And there's the cullender,” said Orphy, "it has such a big crack at the bottom, that when I am smashing the squashes for dinner, not only the water but the squashes themselves drip through. Better give it to Israel, and get a new one for ourselves.”
“ What's this ?" she continued, taking up a tin water dipper.
“That's for dipping water out of the bucket,” replied the tin-man.
“Oh, yes!” cried Amy, “I've seen such a one at Rachel Johnson's. What a clever thing it is! with a good long handle, so that there's no danger of splashing the water on