Oak Openings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 515 pages of information about Oak Openings.

CHAPTER XIV.

      Hope in your mountains, and hope in your streams,
        Bow down in their worship, and loudly pray;
      Trust in your strength, and believe in your dreams,
        But the wind shall carry them all away. 
                                        —­Brainard.

The week which succeeded the arrival of our party at Chateau au Miel, or Castle Meal, as le Bourdon used to call his abode, was one of very active labor.  It was necessary to house the adventurers, and the little habitation already built was quite insufficient for such a purpose.  It was given to the females, who used it as a private apartment for themselves, while the cooking, eating, and even sleeping, so far as the males were concerned, were all done beneath the trees of the openings.  But a new chiente was soon constructed, which, though wanting in the completeness and strength of Castle Meal, was sufficient for the wants of these sojourners in the wilderness.  It is surprising with how little of those comforts which civilization induces us to regard as necessaries we can get along, when cast into the midst of the western wilds.  The female whose foot has trodden, from infancy upward, on nothing harder than a good carpet-who has been reared amid all the appliances of abundance and art, seems at once to change her nature, along with her habits, and often proves a heroine, and an active assistant, when there was so much reason to apprehend she might turn out to be merely an encumbrance.  In the course of a life that is now getting to be well stored with experience of this sort, as well as of many other varieties, we can recall a hundred cases of women, who were born and nurtured in affluence and abundance, who have cheerfully quitted the scenes of youth, their silks and satins, their china and plate, their mahogany and Brussels, to follow husbands and fathers into the wilderness, there to compete with the savage, often for food, and always for the final possession of the soil!

But in the case of Dorothy and Blossom, the change had never been of this very broad character, and habit had long been preparing them for scenes even more savage than that into which they were now cast.  Both were accustomed to work, as, blessed be God! the American woman usually works; that is to say, within doors, and to render home neat, comfortable, and welcome.  As housewives, they were expert and willing, considering the meagreness of their means; and le Bourdon told the half-delighted, half-blushing Margery, ere the latter had been twenty-four hours in his chiente, that nothing but the presence of such a one as herself was wanting to render it an abode fit for a prince!  Then, the cooking was so much improved!  Apart from cleanliness, the venison was found to be more savory; the cakes were lighter; and the pork less greasy.  On this subject of grease, however, we could wish that a sense of right would enable us to

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Oak Openings from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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