and bringing hither dwellers in great cities and perhaps men whose home was beyond the seas, was as strange an object as a ship come to quiet port from the turmoil of the ocean and the busy world beyond it, with the salt of the sea waves still upon its decks and the breath of foreign atmosphere not quite exhaled. The sight of it gave him a dreamy vision of scenes that he could never chance to see and with such respect for its strangeness, he marveled at the bold familiarity of the boys who pranced and capered as horses at the empty pole, while one enjoyed a blissful moment of regal glory on the box.
But soon the fresh horses were brought out and put on; the travelers took their places; the driver climbed to the box, cracked his whip, and the heavy conveyance rolled gaily away.
Levi was the "hired man" on one of the East Weymouth farms. He had come down from the North before the Civil War. Like a multitude of others he had preceded the Hunkie the Dago and the Wop, yet he and his companions had come for the same purpose, - it was to do the hard work on the New England farm and to earn more money than they ever had before. Many of those who came had some gift or talent by which they became leading citizens and desirable neighbors, Levi's gift was that of a teller of stories. It was at an evening party, when urged, that he took a youngster on each knee and told the following story. It is needless to say that the grown-ups also listened with both ears. Because I was one of the group I am able to tell the following "Bear Story":
Once there was a littlb boy that lived up in New Hampshire. He lived on a farm with his father and mother, and lie was a very bright little boy who knew everything that a farm boy ought to know. He knew all about the fields and the mountainside. He knew where to find the nicest berries, where the beechnuts grew, where there were chestnuts, walnuts and butternuts. He knew all the little wild folks, - the squirrels, the rabbits, the woodchucks, and the bears. He wasn't much afraid of bears. He had been told just what lie must do with It bear if he Should want to run. He must never run uphill. A bear has short, stout front legs and long, strong hind legs, so he can run uphill faster than any boy or mail can go. Going downhill he is Clumsy; any smart boy can outrun a bear if he will run downhill.
One clay, I guess it was Saturday, this little boy thought he would go for butternuts. He knew just where to go for some nice ones, so he went whistling up the farm lane. He was barefooted. You see he only bad one pair of shoes, and lie must keep those-for winter. lie didn't care, he liked to go barefoot.
He was going after nuts, yet he didn't carry any basket or any bag. Perha:ps his folks hadn't got any basket, and how do you suppo'e he could bring home any nuts -pockets? Oh, yes, he had pockets, but a little boy's pockets aren't very big -but he knew how, you know what a bright boy he was. He had some string. You know boys always carry string, so he tied his overalls tight around his ankles and then lie loosened up the waistline and
ed his trousers full of butternuts. He was a funny looking boy, and it was a pretty scratchy load. He couldn't run, not a bit, so he wadd e along the path toward home till he came to a place Where the path led over an old stonewall, and there was an old tree
i4rown right among the rocks. He was "kinder" tired so he leaned UP against the tree to rest, and while he stood there he could hear roome funny little noises. It seemed to him they came from the ~tme behind him, so he had to find out about that. He looked up.~Snd made up his mind that the tree was hollow, but he couldn't
himself with. All he had was an old jackknife with one broken blade. Pretty soon the old bear came home, climbed the tree, and began to back into the old hollow tree. You know a bear never goes into a hole head first, but always backs in. I don~t know whether the boy knew that or not, but that is what Levi says.
When the bear got pretty well down the boy grabbed her tail and with his old jackknife he jabbed her hind parts just as fast and has hard as he could. The old bear couldn't stand that, nohow, and began to climb out. The boy held on to her tail and was pulled up. As soon as he got out into the light he gave that bear a great big push and she fell on to the rocks and broke her neck. The boy didn't wait round but about a minute, and when the bear didn't move he ran home as fast as he could. He found his father and the hired man in the dooryard splitting firewood and getting the winter firewood into the shed. Then the boy said, "Father, I've killed a bear." " No, you haven't killed a bear ... .. Yes, I have too." "Now see here. Little boys niustn't tell wrong stories: Of course you couldn't kill a bear. You ain't big enough. You haven't got anything to kill him with." "I don't care, I have killed a bear. Now you come right along and I'll show you."
Then the boy's father called the hired man. "Come, Joe, this boy is about crazy. There must be something the matter up on the mountain. Come along and hold on to that axe." So they started off and had hard work to keep up with the boy, who kept on ahead, and when they got up to the old wall there was the bear just as the boy said. Then they had to go back after the horse to draw the bear home, when the boy said, "Hold on, I've got two more bears in here." "What?" " I got two more bears in here."
Then his father knew he had really found a nest of young bears. The axes were sharp and the men were good woodsmen, and it took but a minute to cut a hole in that tree. Then the hired man reached in and got one bear and gave it to the boy, and they all went back to the farm, where they put the little bear cubs in the woodshed and buttoned the door. The boy's father then said, "You can have one of those cubs for a pet, and we shall have to do something with the other. We can't stand it with two tame bears around. One is sure to be a nuisance."So the boy had his pet bear and they had great fun together.
The little boy cried, the bear whined and scratched the door to get in, but the boy's father hardened his heart, and the boy had to go to bed alone.
Next morning he got up early and went with his father to tile back door, and there was the little bear on the doorstep Froze to Death.
If it seems queer that anything inside a bearskin could freeze, we must consider that Levi had to wind up his story in such a way that no one would ask, "What came next?"
Did anybody ever know an old man or woman who did not love to talk about the old times? Were they not always the good old times? Yes they we~e.
While we talk lovingly of our primitive luxuries we appreciate the ultra refinements of these later days. We like the lights, the water, the, furnace and bathroom accessories. What would we have said to it all seventy-five years ago?
In my early days the open hearth was the only heating plant. I remember well the first cook stove my mother ever had, -a gaunt, long-legged affair, with a two-story top, two-terraced, with two covers cacti. It was installed in what was afterward called the sitting room, used only in midwinter. Everybody was glad to get back to the long kitchen and the fireplace.
I remember a sheet-iron, air-tight stove used only a half dozen times a year. It was in the parlor, opened only for a funeral, a wedding or a session of the Old Ladies' Sewing Circle.
The open fireplace was used every day for cooking. The brick oven was used every Saturday, never skipping a week in half a lifetime.
It was my father's job to prepare the breakfast coffee. Plunging the tongs into the ashes he would draw forward a quart of red coals, put over them a three-legged, heart-shaped griddle, and with the bellows he would blow up a fierce heat, and coffee was ready in a jiffy, It was sweetened with molasses, if you please.
The pumpkin-shaped, soot-covered teakettle hung from the crane and delivered just as clean, clear water as the finest aluminum article. The tin baker set before the open fire, cooked everything perfectly Half the time it would be spider cake, cooked by itself. AlthouK~ the thing was called a spider, I think it was more properly a skillet, a three-legged affair that stood before the fire with handle erect, supported by two legs and the rim. The cake was a perfect substitute for hot biscuit. It was as big as a plate, split, and piled high in layers soaked in porridge, sometimes sugared with brown sugar (we used no other). We called it Johnny cake toast, though it wasn't toast at all. It was never omitted at Thanksgiving breakfast, As for mince pie, the shelves, reached from the cellar stairs,818 WEYMOUTH FOLKLORE '
were lined with mince and pumpkin pies, enough for a month, not to mention saucer sizes and turnovers for children.
When the spider cake was made with corn ineal it corresponded closely with the hoecake of the South. I wonder if I should explain to the young folks why it was hoecake. A smoothly polished hoe, set upright before the fire with handle reaching outward, made a, similar thing to my mother's skillet.
The Saturday brick oven baked the beans, the Indian pudding for Sunday morning and Monday noon, and the big loaf of brownbread for every morning the following week. By Saturday, perhaps by Friday, the brown loaf would be reduced to brewis, that is, to crust, to be reduced with hot milk to a sort of cereal. It was good. Look in the dictionary for brewis; perhaps it will be marked obsolete(t). The teakettle moved along the crane gave room for a quite different kettle to be filled with hot fat for frying doughnuts. I was grown up before I heard the name doughnut, or cruller. They were always symballs; again see the dictionary. My mother had a very modern dough cutter. The little centers that came from the hole were carefully fried separate, especially for boys, as were also a half dozen crude figures of boys with stubby arms and legs. An animal kitchen stunt came at hog-killing time. The making of the winter supply of sausages was a social event, at which the neighbors were invited to assist. One indispensable guest was blind Daniel. He preceded the gasoline saw, preparing the neighborhood fLIC1. He turned the meat grinder and was easily susceptible to flattery, and a facetious guest would marvel at his strength the while he dropped large, hard pieces of meat into the grinder. When i lie sausage skins were filled they were twisted into links and made ready for cold storage. This meant hanging in the corn barn where the wide cracks admitted air to dry the corn and the cold to keep not only the sausage but the winter supply of meat, - sparerib3 and chine pieces hanging from the beams. The building was proof against rats and mice, but was kept locked, not against thieves - whoever heard of such a thing?~- but to prevent swinging doors that might admit cats or dogs.
Hog-killing time brought other stunts like the making of "head clicese." I never heard any name but "Brown." There was making the year's supply of lard; the cutting and packing down of suit pork. About this time we made a year's stock of soft soap. One of the first steps was to set up a leach. Two or three barrels of wood ashes were set. on a bench near the back door. Water percolating through made the lye of which grandmother tested the strength by floating an egg. It being the only season of the year when we made lye, we made a supply of hulled corn which was enough to make everybody sick of it. One other annual event was making a winter's or perhaps a year's stock of candles. The village butcher supplied crude tallow. It was tried out in the big brass kettle over the open fire. Our folks had some candle molds, but seldom used them. Our supply was always tallow dips. Hun-
the 11replace. Tl-e old men's _0,1,.,h;_e_ ho-ots were ne"er a sleek fit. One night as he took off his boots he remarked, "Thought I'd felt something all day, and when he took his foot out, out came the snuffers.
One thing impresses the old man who makes comparison with the youth of to-day is the recklessness with which little folks spend pennies, nickels and dimes. Nothing like it seventy-five years ago. There was niuch less temptation and less supply. Stick candy and peanuts at the grocers were universal; that was about all. A souvenir of my own youth is a shabby purse with about twenty copper coins in common use before the Civil War. Every one represents a mile at least of messenger service. All my family commandeered my service without reward. I suppose neighbors contributed the pennies referred to.
I must not spend them. Oh, no! I was expected to accumulate $5 a year to be put in the big savings bank at New Year's, so each min went into my tin bank that stood among the dishes in the china closet; also 6 cents for every quart of huckleberries sold. I had one customer who bought two quarts every Tuesday and Friday night. My mother early impressed me with the importance of keeping my word. The berries being promised, I must get them. It sometimes rained great guns. I must dress in old clothes and go though soaked to the skin. Mother always insisted that berries must be clean. Sometimes she would make my sister help me "pick over," removing every green or imperfect one, every leaf and %temlet; also I must add two handfuls to heap the measure, then I must go again through the rain to deliver. Yes, I earned every 6 cents as also every 3 cents a box for picking strawberries. I have a vivid and distinct recollection of the day I first experienced the high cost of living.
it was my first tailor-made store jacket. My mother insisted that I must pay for it from my own savings. It was the first time anything like that had ever been required of me. It pulled down my bank money "$4." 1 didn't like it; also I always hated the ja C prejudice, no doubt.
1~Ieytrnotlier had always made my clothes, assisted by the village t,tiloress, usually one clay in spring and again in the fall. I had one grouch against the tailor woman. She had an insane notion that I was growing, and that she must guess at measurement, so I never h,Jd a fit.
My clothes were always cut down from my father's. The young will be surprised when I say that I was grown up before I even saw knickers or short pants on a boy. My trousers were ankle length, just like my father's.
ly school days began at four years, the universal age. I see the school barge pass, and recall that few storms were severe enough 820 WEYMOUTH FOLKLORE
I recall the days when I had to coax for the privilege of carrying a cold dinner. When my mother hadn't at hand the makings of a school lunch she would give me 2 cents and tell me to go to the store. The village grocery was no delicatessen, but there was sure to be a box of dried herring, two for a cent; the other cent would buy six crackers from the barrel under the counter. The privilege of eating in the schoolroom with the everyday dinner carriers from the outskirts of the district was a hilarious substitute for dessert and the hottest home dinner of a lifetime. Does any one rise to remark that my dinner was deficient in proteins or vitamines? Dear me, I wonder if I spelled them right? I am sure that neither were in my spelling book.
My brother was eleven years old when I was born. As he went away to a trade when I was six, lie was never a playmate. He wanted to be a carpenter because they were earning $1.50 a day. My father told him he might be a carpenter if he wanted to, but he would have to give up the notion that he could earn nine shillings a day; that it was unlikely that high wages would continue beyond the prospective four years' apprenticeship. This was in 1853.
1 was too young to be interested in the terms. He lived with his master the whole four years. I suppose he had some bonus eachear and as much as $50 or $100 and a suit of new clothes when
It was a hard life. Every day was a full ten hours. Seven till 6. Seven o'clock meant on the job, ready to drive nails. No allowance for time on the road at either end of the day. In my own case I went to work in a shoe shop at fifteen. At sixteen I was earning 50 cents - perhaps during the year as much as 75 cents - a day. it was ten hours on Saturday, as all other days. Holidays were counted out, also sick clays and part days. No vacation with pay, no overtime at increased wages.
farther back. Born in 1812 lie was bound out when he was eleven years old. He started life young. He ran away from his master at fifteen years, married at nineteen, my mother being seventeen. When he was twenty-one lie had his house built. He borrowed $400. This he repaid out of wages at 75 cents a day, the average shoemaker's pay. I know some Young people will take ~ pencil and say lie couldn , t have done it and live, even if lie turned in every cent. Perhaps he (lid turn in every cent or nearly that. Of course, my mother helped. She used to ''do b~ots" for Alvah Raymond, siding seams and sewing feet lining. They kept one or two pigs, a cow and a garden; boarded a relative and his wife for a year or two. 01i, they lived and skimped and prospered. There are people who do it now. - U. S. BArES.
Two huhdred years seems a long time looking ahead. Who can dare even imagine what the conditions may be right here two hundred years hence. It appears a long road to cover in the mind, and yet, to go back two hundred years and try to gather clews to the life of those days seems only a nice little friendly sort of journey. Our grandfathers, whom we all remember, were, most of them, born between 1770 and 1800. They may be presumed to have known their grandfathers, who must have been born before or at the beginning of the century, arid so we get our six generations and our two hundred years. We have plenty of records and traditions to show us how these grandfathers "six times removed" lived and labored and died. It seems but yesterday, to some of us, that they ploughed these very fields where we are working to-day. They were the unfortunate "third generation" about whose ignorance arid superstition, whose intolerance and spiritual darkness, so much has been written. What were the conditions, socially, under which. they lived? Let us try to discover.
Where, in the records of the town and parish, can we find accounts of their meeting together for any sort of social gathering? Man is a gregarious animal, and prone to share his joys and sorrows with his fellows; he is wont to gather in companies and we must search for the places of those gatherings if we want to understand his social diversions. Of course, we must dismiss from our minds any ideas of social life as we know it to-day -as well lay them aside at once. Our ancestors of the first three generations were of dif.: ferent stuff.
Governor Bradford says, "They knew they were Pilgrims, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to t 0 Heavens, their dearest Country, and quieted their spirits."
They had no wish for worldly diversions; their minds were set on heavenly things, and this life was but the anteroom to the ife eternal, a room in which they trod softly and spake low.
So if we want to find the gathering place of the Reeds and th Torreys, the Hunts and the Whitmans, the Louds and the Vin n
and the Pooles, we have not far to seek. It was at the meet ng house - always the meeting-house. " Church " was a word the d, not use.
Two hundred years ago the place whereon our church is built was little better than a reedy marsh, a sort of upland meadow. The rising February sun of A.D. 1720 shone upon a little
bordered by tall bushes of sassafras and black alder, and fringed with giant sedge and rush - the "thatch rush" - among whose spires the wild duck nested; pigeons and herons and wild turkeys came there; and the little hoofprints in the black mud of the shore
were those of the soft-eyed deer. A small stream ran out of it and down across the meadow opposite, and joined the rushing brook which crossed the oid Indian trail a hall 11111c uclOw,-a
now dwindled to a mere threid, but which then was a fair little river, in whose clear waters William Reed washed his sheep.
Clearings were to be seen here and there, but the primeval forest came very close to the back doors of the humble but substantial dwellings which dotted the "trail" off to the northeast.
Uo on the beautiful hill we call Mosquito Plain two or three of these comfortable gambrel-roofed h4nes could be seen. The morning sun glittered on the diamond-paned windows, arid lighted up the smoke wreaths which came from the massive chimneys. From their low doorways the early risers could look down over the tree tops, to the chimneys and roofs of the "Old City," the early settlement toward the south, just off of what is now Union Street, and farther still to the south was the hamlet of Bridgewater, where some of them were wont to go for wives.
Turning his back on the rising sun the early pot-hunter in pursuit Of the day's provisions would follow the trail toward old Brain. tree, and by-and-by would circle round and come out in the little village " in the Bowl," at the head of tidewater, old Weymouth Landing, where he might be able to add a neat catch of fish to his store.
Dwellers on this fertile and sightly plateau must have sometimes dreamed of the future cities and flourishing towns which their descendants would raise up in years to come; must have realized the value of this fair'land which had been given them in the distribution of the "Great Letts," without money and without price, some parts of which remain to this day in the names of their original
0 owners. They were long-sighted, these worthy ancestors of ours, and though we are prone to say they never could have imagined thei progress of modern civilization, I am not sure they did not "dream
Fifty years before, their fathers had helped their grandfathers when they cleared the virgin forests, planted fields of corn, turned I the stump land into pastures and built mills along the water courses, Iney lay at rest now, these early generations, on the hill to the Inorth, which overlooks the bay, - the hill whose slopes were Visbed by the blue waters upon which their brave ancestors of t635 had sailed into the "haven where they would be." The little 'children of that day, lambs of good pastor Hull's flock, were now agedl grandsires themselves, arid had seen the log cabins of their youth replaced by substantial frame houses, and the old footpaths and bridle trails turned into passable roads whereon ox-teams or Coach or calash could comfortably go. They had survived the danfrom savage Indians, and seen the marauders driven away,
could begin to turn their attention to other things than the bar'e struggle for existence. ,
T lie first generation '-ad been little better than " hewers of wood and drawers of water,." living mostly on Hope, and the satisfaction of being free, and glad indeed to suffer, if by their sacrifice their children might be the gainers. The second generation, many of them, too, born in the Old Country, were also a distressed and hard. worked people, busy about the division of land and the clearing of it, and in the Settling of newcomers. It remained for the third gen. eration, true Sons of the soil, native-born Americans, to realize the fact that the land was really theirs - "their inheritance and the fruits thereof."
This same sunny February morning, if it happened to be the ''Sabbath Day," would have dawned on a procession of the dwellers of this little hamlet making ready for the solemn ceremonies of this one clay of all the week to them. On foot, on horseback.' mother behind father on a pillion ' in ox-team or rude cart, they could be seen slowly filing down over the rough road toward Wessagusset, through the six miles of forest, fording the river, and toiling up King Oak Hill, at the foot of which, on a knoll near Burying Island, stood the rude building, half fortress, half meeting-house where they were to spend their day, Kinsmen from Hunt's Hili and Old Spain and Phillips' Creek neighborhood came to the island in boats and moored their skiffs in front of the grove of sturdy oaks on the west shore. All had baskets and paniers containing their simple noonday meal, cooked on the Saturday, for no work of that sort was allowed on the Sabbath.
Clustered together on the sunny slope of the hill, or warming themselves before the fire in the parsonage "great room "- filling their footstoves with hot coals from the generous firepla~e, rubbing warmth into the chill fingers of the long-suffering little ones, - their weekly period of "social life" was begun. Before and between services they could greet kinsmen and reunite separated families.
Good parson Thacher had just put up his new house at the foot of the knoll, and the two-hour sermon which be would deliver to them had been written in the big chamber whose windows Over. looked the graveyard. They must discuss it and argue about it in the noon hour, these wise and earnest elders and deacons while no doubt their good wives exchanged household receipts, an~ whis. pered gossip from the depths of their "pumpkin hoods." Young men walked apart with the meek maidens of their choice, and little children snoozed on the hard benches by the fire.
Distances were great; there were no telephones, no post offices, no newspapers. This weekly interchange of news and opinions was their all, the very life of their souls. Their only reading matter seems to have been sermons, a volume of which somewhat dry food was usually considered a fine present to make on any great Here and there might be found the master of a house Uould write well enough to make an entry in the almanac,
his name to his will, but the respected mothers in Israel could scarcely accomplish as much as that. Paper was scarce and dear, peas and ink were homemade; there was nobody to write to and noway to send it if they could have written lette. -.
After the noon hour they filed solemnly back into the meetinghouse, where, carefully seated according to rank and dignity, they prepared to listen to another sermon. They had ruLd, as they came in, a half dozen notices of various sorts, nailed to the outer door, sales of cattle, barn-raisings, publishments, announcements Of training day, and so forth, and if their-qhoughts wandered to these worldly subjects during the sermon you will not wonder wheri you read a sample paragraph from one of the sermons of that day.
it appears, manifestly that these two propositions, A man. is justified by works, god ' A man is justified by faith, carry meanings utterly opposite one to the other, the one is proper and formal, the other met-o-nym-i-cal and relative. In this prop. Wilion, A man is justified by works, we understand all in pToper an([ pr~ec se: terms, that a righteous man who hath kept the Law exactly in,all points is by and for the dignity and worth of his obedience justified in God 9 Sig lit from all blame and punishment whatsoever, because perfect obedience to the Moral Law in itself, for its own sake, deserves the approbation of God's severe justice and the reward of Heaven. n A a u ed by laith we in ust un 'erstand
After which the poor "sinners" were no doubt glad to sing a psalm. Musical instruments were not used, and the psalm was started, or, as they said, the "tune was set," by some one of the brethren who had a good voice and sufficient courage. It was often a matter of difficulty to get the psalm well under way; they sang, of course, only by ear. judge Sewall records in his "Diary" that once he "set" York tune, though lie liji(t not intcnded to. And in another place, that the congregation Started on his tune but wandered into another, which, he says "discouraged me very much," The lines were solemnly chanted through the nose. Reminders of this method of singing are still to be met with in some of their descendants.
After the long psalm, sometimes fifty verses, had been struggled through, came the last prayer, longer than the others, often consuming an hour or an hour and a half. Men were known someItimes to faint (as all stood during this address to the Almighty), and not seldom the minister himself gave out. A "gift of prayer" was the most cherished possession of candidates for the ministry.826 WEYMOUTH FOLKLORE
At marriages and at burials they had also long prayers; especially at the burials. Nothing in all their simple lives served to draw out so many people and so much enthusiasm as the funerals. It was; a sincere gratification to them, to see that their dead were suitably and decorously started on their long journey. Records of the old clays give pages to accounts of the funerals of deceased worthies. The bearers carried the coffin on their shoulders to the tomb in some near-by burying ground, or there was a grave made in the rude enclosure which so many of the early settlers built on tlieir~ home place. Mourning rings and scarfs were universally given to? those invited to attend. One historian records "having a pewter tankard full of rings" which had been given him at funerals. 4
The Sunday following the funeral was always observed in the meeting-house by prayers for the bereaved family who stood, reverently in their pews while this service was going on.
Every feast they made these pious ancestors of ours, opened with prayer, and closed with ~ psalm. For over a hundred years there was no gathering, even of the smallest dimensions which (lid not either begin or end with an invocation to the Almighty. Periods of private prayer, for help in sickness or trouble, were the rule, some pious neighbor or rear-by minister being called in to lea(]. Religion was to them no small matter; the most insignificant details of their day were not too small for divine guidance. Tilt-y felt the precarious tenure of their lives - every hour of those early days was fraught with more or less danger, and the simplest niani. festations of nature, like clotid and tempest, had to them a spiritual
One good grandfather records that as he and his wife, riding upon one horse to "Thursday lecturre," forded a brook, the steed lay down, the day being hot, and threw them off, whereupon, "when they gat themselves up out of the water, they went to prayer upoe the bank, to praise God they had not been hurt."
Perhaps we cannot repress a smile at the picture of these saintly Puritans, kneeling, dripping, upon the spongy bank of the town brook and " giving thanks! " Butwe know they were in earnest, and our sinile fades into a look of wondering respect. God was near them, had a care of them, and they tried to be grateful.
In another journal we read this entry: "Between one and two last night there was great lightning and sharp thunder; the children came down to my chamber. I humbly and thankfully bless God that we saw the quick and powerful Fire, heard the terrible Voice - and yet we live!"
Life was, indeed, a serious matter in those days. Their desire depart from the customs of their forefathers, and to do away ihi
_ - 4'. M,~nnle and the morris dance, were tabooed; riding .countiv, 1-1
to hounds was no sport, for there were no hounds, and the deer carne to their very doors to be killed. Shooting of game was not &lnusement, but business: to fill their hungry stomachs.In 1685 one Francis Stepney petitioned for permission to open
r to year with great satisfaction, that ''Christmas was not r =rved -~agonsl etc., came to town, and business was done as
The family circle" around the evening lamp was as yet unknown; Wlow candies and pine knots furnished poor light for reading or working. In the absence of visitors, of letters, of newspapers, of knowledge of the Outside world, what was there to talk about, even ji they wished to sit tip and converse? They had no wist, no
-dramatics," no concerts, 110 hall for public meetings, save the tam unlighted, unheated meeting-house, whose liveliest kind of entertainment was a town meeting once a year. Their lives of Asolutely hard labor afforded them no leisure for pleasure; farnij~es Aere large, help scarce (many families had an Indian squaw, W a "Guinea negro" in the kitchen, but of skilled service there M-29 none); the women of the households were occupied every walcing hour with the necessary labor to provide for their family's 'conifort, - spinning the flax they had raised themselves, weaving,li, aking, knitting (there were no factories then);
and fed and watered the cattle, did the milking, and carne into breakfast. As they stood in their low doorway at half past 6 by the tall clock in the "great room," and looked out over the rude highway where perhaps no human foot would passali day, did they realize what a lonely life they led? We can only wonder.
Now and then they had a "real good time," we are told, earn. bining business with pleasure, when there was a husking or a quilting to be accomplished. Good things to eat and a little ..rum of Jamaica " for a treat were the height of entertainment offered.
Dinner began with a pudding, boiled in a bag or baked in a crock in the brick oven. Alen and women, farm laborers and neighbors' daughters, sat clown to the long "table boards" on trestles, or around the circular cbair-table and ate their bountiful "helpings" from pewter plates, with the aid of a wide-bladed steel knife. A sparerib of pork, or perhaps a ''boiled shoulder and greens ' " fat. lowed, then pies ' - apple, pumpkin and mince, - the pastry made with Indian meal, for white flour was little used. Tea they knew not, but in high circles in Boston they were drinking " Choca. letto," lately introduced from South America at this time. But home-brewed beer, and mead and cider were sufficient for the farmers. Sugar was scarce, molasses being used for sweetening wholly. A lump of loaf sugar was a fine treat to the little lass of those clays (whose great great grandchild of to-day wants an expensive box of Huyler's). A stick of red and white striped barley candy was a reward for virtue to the little ones for at least three generations.
"The simple life" indeed was theirs, hot]) from force Of Circtim. stances and from strong religious conviction. The church was all. There was only one denomination, which made life more harmc~ nious. If heresy, or "different opinions " in religion, started to spring tip it was promptly nipped in the bud. The whipping post %Yas a great discourager of heresy, and they found the stocks most con. ducive to orthodoxy. The church was an autocrat, the only auto. crat which was allowed to flourish under the new democracy, bt;t woe to him who disobeyed its teachings! No man could be a voter, or ''freeman" up to 1692 unless lie were a church member. and speaking disrespectfully of the minister was punishable wit~ a fine.
It would be idle to say that three or four generations of anceston of this sort failed to leave their stamp on us, their descendant% and we may sometimes find, perhaps, a palliation of our crirnes of gossip and censoriousness in the inheritance we carry of their zeal for duty, bequeathed us from these strenuous days when every to an was "his brother's keeper," We have no time for that so" * thing in these days. "Social life" has us fast in its chitc * He made easy and possible for us by their labors. We ar ing the harvest they sowed. A harvest they did not anti perhaps; and whether it is better for our souls than the li lived, who knows?
Standing in Jackson Square to-day it is not easy to picture the following story told me by Miss Eller, Gibuson P-arrot, for many years a highly respected teacher in the Weymouth schools.
"When my aunt was a little girl the Indians were in the habit of coming to the Halfway House (Rice's Tavern), situated between Boston and Plymouth, kept by Josiah Rice and now owned and occupied by Willard J. Dunbar and helping themselves to whatever they wished. They would t1frow their blankets upon the kitchen floor and sleep there until nearly daylight, when they would again calmly appropriate whatever took their fancy, and, mounting their horses, be away before any one else was up."It was after one of these unceremonious departures that mv
" Her brother loved her dearly and could not bear to see her 0eved. He decided to mend matters, and, mounting his horse, which was a good one, he made all haste to overtake the Indians. Not wishing to antagonize them, he pleasantly explained the situation, and, making it quite plain that he desired only the return of the little shoes, persuaded them to grant his request. We can imagme how contentedly lie rode back and how joyfully lie was received." - SUSANNAH W. FRENCH.
To one past three score and ten, looking back sixty-five years, there seems no greater transformation than that of the lighting of our homes. How well I recall the picture of my father sitting in his big
roundabout" armchair with his newspaper in one hand and in the other a small tin lamp. This lamp had two tin tubes rather smaller than a pencil, with narrow slits in their sides for "picking up" the vicks which were of cotton, something like that used by plumbers for pa~cking. Within the lamp was whale or cast oil, the latter less offensive in smell and smoke, a difference only of degree. In our village, now part of Metropolitan Boston, very few, except
Then for househl)ld use came "fluid, or burning fluid," its f ulness a great improvement on whale and lard oils. The lamps used were of glass. The burner had two tapered tubes of pewter side by side; the holes at the top about the size ol those in a salt shaker, each with a brass cup attached to a short elwin to cover the tubes when pot in use. The "fluid" was as clear as water and as volatile and inflammable as alcohol, just the opposite of lard oil and by many considered too dangerous to use. One could rub the finger across the wick of an unlighted lamp and carry to it the flame from one in use. It took a half minute to light the lard oil burner, against a second's time with the "fluid."
Then came "rosin oil," but not into general use, as I remember going with two other boys to a neighboring village for a supply. Perhaps it might have become so, but the advent of kerosene oil soon followed, and almost at once came into general use. It sold at first for $1.50 a gallon, but a gallon lasted a long time. Whether that was owing to its lasting quality or to the small flame that satisfied then is a question. Probably the transition period between lard and kerosene oils was not more than five years. Whether or not the use of lard oil affected the whaling fisheries, the intrciduc~ tion of kerosene practically destroyed it. Various other illuminants have come and gone, but for many years in our cities, where gas was in use, kerosene reigned supreme. Its first real rival was electricity.
The first electric lights we ever saw were at Nantasket Beach while listening to the band concerts at Hotel Nantasket. It was a private plant, a horizontal engine in the basement supplying
power. Often the lights would go out for a second or two owing to the slipping of the belt.
They were about as attractive as the band concerts for a while. But those in use to-day are far ahead of them. It seems hardly possible that they in their turn will go into the discard, but who knows? This is a world of changes.
Writing of light reminds one of its running mate, always Its match and often ahead of it -the friction match. There were friction matches in those days, such as they were, made in cards of twenty, like the teeth of a comb, and easily broken off. They were first dipped in sulphur for a quarter inch; then the extreme tips were touched with phosphorous, a very inflammable sill). stance which made them "self-lighting," that is, by scratching. Before the phosphorus was used, matches could be lighted only from another flame.
Sulphur matches kindled slowly, and until the sulphur was burned away, must be held at a distance. The smoker who lighted up in a hurry was nearly suffocated by the sulphur fumes.
Before the scratch matches many people made "tapers" w were simply ribbon-like slips of paper rolled closely and tap to a point. These were five to six inches long and of va colors. Placed in a vase or jar they were considered quite
mental, smelled better and cost little or nothing. They had their day just as did the flint and steel of former years.
That was a slow and tedious way of getting a flame. One had to h'--v-, a piece of flint and a piece of steel and an iron tinder box. Striking the flint with the steel threw a spark into the tinder box and set fire to the tinder, a partly burned finen rag.
People would send to a neighbor for "some fire," using a "pine knot" for that purpose and also for lighting. These knots were full of resin (or rosin) and a knotty piece of pine would burn some time. Abraham Lincoln used to study by their light.
Now when we stop to coitsider that the same sweeping changes have been made, as to the food we eat and the clothes we wear, we really should be ashamed to kick when forced to do Without for a time one or two of the hundreds of conveniences our ancestors never knew or dreamed of,