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[464] turn,--the Old Testament in the morning, and the New at night. Eight o'clock records the entire family in bed, except one of the boys, who has an inquisitive mind, and has borrowed a book on witchcraft; and he is allowed to sit up till nine, and read by the light of a pitch-pine knot, stuck into a hole in the chimney-corner.

This simple round of needful duties must be daily repeated through the six months of warm weather, and a yet more simple routine for the remainder of the year.

Now let us see how the mother and daughters get through that Saturday in the log-hut on the banks of the Mystic. Their house — which had two covered rooms below, a kitchen that went up to the roof, and two lofts as attic chambers — required very little care; and the beds could be made in an incredibly short time. The first duty of the morning was cooking the breakfast; and, after the water was boiling, it needed but thirty minutes to complete the process. The daughter sat the table, whose furniture consisted of wooden plates, pewter spoons, two knives and forks, the father's dish of smoked shad, the boys' bowls of pea-porridge, a plate of brown bread, and a mug of cider. To wash up and clear off the whole, after breakfast, needed but fifteen minutes of brisk application by the two daughters. The lunch prepared for the men has gone with them to the field; and now the cheese must be made, and it must be made with care. This takes till eight o'clock; and hard work it is,--the “turning” of the cheeses harder still. Saturday is baking-day; and the three females are busy in preparing for the event. The oven had its opening on the outside of the house, behind the chimney, and was double the size of modern ones. One brings wood to heat the oven; another gets the Indian meal and rye; a third brings a pail of water. Here are beans to be picked over, pork to be cut, and dough to be kneaded. The kitchen is busy; all hands are at work; and the baking for seven days cannot be prepared in less than three hours. Eleven o'clock has unexpectedly come, and it demands that dinner should be thought of; and all other business is supended to provide for that. At the fixed moment, the elder daughter blows the horn; and the laborers from the field are anon at their dinner. No washing up of dinner-things to-day till after the batch is set in. The oven is soon cleared of fire, swept, and dusted; and then go into the hottest part the large oval lumps of brown-bread dough, because they require the strongest heat. Next

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Mystick River (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

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