ページの画像
PDF
ePub

and carried it out to a bench which stood under the eaves, where I performed my very limited ablutions al fresco, not at all pleased with this part of country habits. I bethought me of a story I had heard before we crossed the line, of a gentleman travelling in Michigan, who instead of a “wash-dish ’’ was directed to the spring, and when he requested a towel received for answer: “Why, I should think you had a hankercher l’’. After breakfast, I expressed a wish to accompany Mr. Clavers to the village tract; but he thought a very bad marsh would make the ride unpleasant. “Lord bless ye!” said Mr. Danforth, “that mash has got a real handsome bridge over it since you was here last.” So we set out in the buggy and rode several miles through an alternation of open glades with fine walnut trees scattered over them, and “bosky dells” fragrant as “Araby the blest” at that delicious hour, when the dews filled the air with the scent of the bursting leaves. By and bye, we came to the “beautiful bridge,” a newly-laid causeway of large round logs, with a slough of despond to be crossed in order to reach it. I would not consent to turn back, however, and in we went, the buggy standing it most commendably. When we reached the first log our poor Rozinante stopped in utter despair, and some persuasion was necessary to induce him to rear high enough to place his fore feet upon the bridge, and when he accomplished this feat, and after a rest essayed to make the buggy rear too, it was neck or nothing. Yet up we went, and then came the severe part of the achievement, a “beautiful bridge” half a mile long !

Half a rod was enough for me, I cried for quarter, and was permitted to pick my way over its slippery eminences, to the utter annihilation of a pair of Lane's shoes.

[ocr errors]

The greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory doth fall under measure; and the greatness of finances and revenue doth fall under computation. * * * By all means it is to be procured, that the trunk of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy be great enough to bear the branches and the boughs.-BAcon.

THE morning passed in viewing and reviewing the village site and the “Mill privilege,” under the conde. scending guidance of a regular land speculator, into whose clutches but I anticipate, The public square, the water lots, the value per foot of this undulating surface, clothed as it then was with burr-oaks, and haunted by the red deer ; these were almost too much for my gravity. I gave my views, however, as to the location of the grand esplanade, and particularly requested that the fine oaks which now graced it might be spared when the clearing process commenced. “Oh, certainly, mem s” said our Dousterswivel, “a place that’s designed for a public promenade must not be divested of shade trees” Yet I believe these very trees were the first “Banquos” at Montacute. The water lots, which were too valuable to sell save by the foot, are still in the market, and will probably remain there for the present. This factotum, this Mr. Mazard, was an odd-looking

creature, with “diverse ocular foci,” and a form gaunt enough to personify Grahamism. His words sometimes flowed in measured softness, and sometimes tumbled over each other, in his anxiety to convince, to persuade, to inspire. His air of earnest conviction, of sincere anxiety for your interest, and, above all, of entire forgetfulness of his own, was irresistible. People who did not know him always believed every word he said ; at least so I have since been informed. This gentleman had kindly undertaken to lay out our village, to build a mill, a tavern, a store, a blackSmith's shop; houses for cooper, miller, &c. &c., to purchase the large tracts which would be required for the mill-pond, a part of which land was already improved; and all this, although sure to cost Mr. Clavers an immense sum, he, from his experience of the country, his large dealings with saw-mills, &c., would be able to accomplish at a very moderate cost. The mill, for instance, was to be a story and a half high, and to cost perhaps twenty-five hundred dollars at the utmost. The tavern, a cheap building of moderate size, built on the most popular plan, and connected with a store, just large enough for the infant needs of the village, reserving our strength for a splendid one, (I quote Mr. Mazard) to be built out of the profits in about three years. All these points being thus satisfactorily arranged, Mr. Mazard received carte blanche for the purchase of the lands which were to be flowed, which he had ascertained might be had for a mere trifle. The principal care now was to find a name—a title at once simple and dignified—striking and euphonious —recherché and yet unpretending. Mr. Mazard was for naming it after the proprietor. It was a proper opportunity, he thought, of immortalizing one’s-self. But he failed in convincing the proprietor, who relished not this form of fame, and who referred the matter entirely to me. Here was a responsibility I begged for time, but the matter must be decided at once. The village plot was to be drawn instanter—lithographed and circulated through the United States, and, to cap the climax, printed in gold, splendidly framed, and hung up in Detroit, in the place “where merchants most do congregate.” I tried for an aboriginal designation, as most char. acteristic and unworn. I recollected a young lady speaking with enthusiastic admiration of our Indian names, and quoting Ypsilanti as a specimen. But I was not fortunate in my choice; for to each of the few which I could recollect, Mr. Mazard found some insuperable objection. One was too long, another signified Slippery Eel, another Big Bubble; and these would be so inappropriate I began to be very tired. I tried romantic names; but these again did not suit any of us. At length I decided by lot, writing ten of the most sounding names I could muster from my novel reading stores, on slips of paper, which were mingled in a shako, and out came—Montacute. How many matters of greater importance are thus decided.

« 前へ次へ »