“No, it isn’t—it’s Krissman.”
“Well, Krissman, how do you like the service?”
“Very well. I was only recruited last summer. I used to ride horse on the Canawl, and, as I can blow a horn first-rate, I expect I will soon be able to play on a bugle, and then, when I get to be musician, you know, I shall have extra pay.”
I did not know it, but I expressed due pleasure at the information, and wishing Krissman all manner of success in his dreams of ambition, or rather, I should say, of avarice, for the hopes of “extra pay” evidently preponderated over those of fame, I returned to my own quarters.
My husband, with his French tastes, was inclined to be somewhat disappointed when I told him of this little incident, and my refusal of Krissman’s soup; but we were soon gratified by seeing his tall, awkward form bearing a kettle of the composition, which he set down before the two gentlemen, by whom, to his infinite satisfaction, it was pronounced excellent.
Everything being at length in readiness, the tents were struck and carried around the Portage, and my husband, the Judge, and I followed at our leisure.
The woods were brilliant with wild flowers, although it was so late in the season that the glory of the summer was well-nigh past. But the lupin, the moss-pink, and the yellow wallflower, with all the varieties of the helianthus, the aster, and the solidago, spread their gay charms around. The gentlemen gathered clusters of the bittersweet (celastrus scandens) from the overhanging boughs to make a wreath for my hat, as we trod the tangled pathway, which, like that of Christabel, was
“Now in glimmer and now in gloom,”
through the alternations of open glade and shady thicket. Soon, like the same lovely heroine,
“We reached the place—right glad we were,”
and, without further delay, we were again on board our little boat and skimming over the now placid waters.
WINNEBAGO LAKE—MISS FOUR-LEGS.
Our encampment this night was the most charming that can be imagined. Owing to the heavy service the men had gone through in the earlier part of the day, we took but a short stage for the afternoon, and, having pulled some seven or eight miles to a spot a short distance below the “little Butte,” we drew in at a beautiful opening among the trees.
The soldiers now made a regular business of encamping, by cutting down a large tree for their fire and applying themselves to the preparing of a sufficient quantity of food for their next day’s journey, a long stretch, namely, of twenty-one miles across Winnebago Lake. Our Frenchmen did the same. The fire caught in the light dry grass by which we were surrounded, and soon all was blaze and crackle.
Fortunately the wind was sufficient to take the flames all in one direction, and, besides, there was not enough fuel to have made them a subject of any alarm. We hopped upon the fallen logs, and dignified the little circumscribed affair with the name of “a prairie on fire.” The most serious inconvenience was its having consumed all the dry grass, some armfuls of which, spread under the bear-skin in my tent, I had found, the night before, a great improvement to my place of repose.