MRS. T., a young lady from Boston, is dead. Just one year from the day of her marriage she was attired for the grave. In this early spring, when nature is so beautiful in young leaves and opening buds, and full of promise, the hopes of the young husband are blasted. Earth and sky wear a pall. Slowly the mourners wind through the prairie, and over the high hill beyond us, to the lowly cemetery. We all feel that death is indeed here. It has, with unerring aim, stricken down the young and beautiful. Tenderly we would offer sympathy, realizing well that "every heart knoweth its own bitterness " in hours of bereavement, and shrinks from many words, though kindly spoken.
Death to us here, away from one's early friends, one's old home, has more than its usual significance, and the tidings of one laid low in our little settlement awakens a thoughtfulness and a tenderness for the bereaved and heart-stricken, which in the old homes we felt not, save for a dear friend. We make their sorrow, their utter loneliness, our own. So different is it from the olden towns, where life is crowded, and if, in the bustle and jostling of each other, one now and then falls, the crowd presses on, and the gap closes here, there is a sad feeling for many and many a day, and we realize that changes as sudden may await us all.
We have showers to-day, quick, pouring showers, and in the intervals the sunlight seems intense with its life-giving powers. How nature is robing herself in the richest of green! For hours I have looked out upon her changing forms, with many crowding thoughts of home, -- of friends scattered all through New England dells and mountains of friends passed onward into the spirit life, whose presence is at all times near me, but with peculiar vividness to-day; of the duties of life, especially of those resting upon us in this age, when the spirit of liberty, of manliness even, is giving way before the increasing thirst for gold, which is the god of this country. I have watched the new and varied phase of those noble trees across the river. How the leaves grow! How the rain-drops glitter like gems, as the sun, with clouds passed by, shines out brilliantly again; and as the bow of promise spanned all, this thought, like it, was born of the sunshine and the shower.
We are passing through hours of imminent danger to the liberties of the country. "The old landmarks have been removed," and "men have framed mischief by law." Yet, serenely above all these commotions, this treachery, this fraud of man, holding the seals of justice, sits God upon his throne. And out of all, in his own good time, he will again bring the reign of righteous men, and the laws of our country shall have for their basis love and truth. Give us courage to act when the hour calls for action, and faith to wait when endurance is our cross. We in Kansas can see with clear vision the workings of this hydra-headed monster, whose seat is at Washington, and whose power emanates therefrom, and whose unholy name is Human Slavery.
May 2d. -- "Old Gray" is lent to a friend to-day; so we lose our intended ride. Mr. S. brings us a basket of eggs from the Delaware country. We are beginning to get more articles which seemed essential in house-keeping at home, but which are difficult to get here, as many people are ready to take them the moment they are brought in. Many of the new comers neglect to provide themselves with the staples of life at Kansas city; so, as soon as flour and groceries are brought in here, they take them back into the country, leaving us a continual dearth. Somehow, by the happy genius of invention, of which long ago necessity was acknowledged the mother, we have always had enough of the good things of this life, and have most faithfully followed the last clause of the injunction which the rich man in Scripture lays to his soul, "eat, drink, and be merry."
Mr. W., the old gentleman who acts for us in the capacity of prime minister of all work about the house, in the occasional absence -- I might more truthfully say occasional presence at home -- of my husband, croaks a good deal, that we "will have a famine in the autumn -- that starvation will drive us far from the country, because, forsooth, to-day there is no flour in town. It seems to me quite probable, while flour is plenty in Missouri at three and a half dollars per sack, and sells here at six and a half, that the Missourians will bring it over; not so much out of friendly regard for us, "poor Massachusetts paupers," as of interested feeling for their pockets. In that at least I have implicit trust. E. goes on an exploring expedition for yeast, and is successful in getting some which looks neither "lively" nor clean. Indeed, it looks as though some very strong chemical action must be brought to bear upon it, in order to raise good bread.
3d. -- Towards night was glad to welcome to our house a young lady, also a fellow-traveller upon the river. The family with whom she travelled are exceedingly fine people. They are intending to settle at Manhattan, upon the Big Blue, seventy-five or one hundred miles from here. The country there is called by many more beautiful than this, yet they who go there must possess courage beyond mine to live so far from any steam line of communication with the states.
Like most Kansas emigrants, this young lady and her friends have tasted the hardships of pioneer life. On leaving Kansas city three days since, and getting out of town a short distance, their horses became entirely unmanageable. Notwithstanding the depth of the mud, owing to the recent heavy showers, the ladies were set out into it, and for quite a distance carried the children in their arms. The effort being ineffectual towards further progress that night, they camped by the road-side and slept amid the dampness and falling rain.
They have also been visited with sickness. While Mr. D., after great prostration, has recovered, the little one, the "pet lamb" of the flock, has "gone home," without tasting earth's trials, or breasting its stormy floods.
4th. -- I sent E. to my nearest neighbor's this morning for milk; without success, however. Among all these cows which are grazing over all the hills, reminding one continually of the sweet pictures of pastoral life, where the cattle feed upon a thousand hills, and the dwellers of the land make their homes in tents, it seems strange that milk is so difficult to procure. E. finds more acquaintances at Mr. S.'s, and they too are 'passing under the rod." The wing of the dark angel is hovering near to bear away the little child, whose pallor now rivals the linen which the wan cheek presses.
We go out to ride over these glorious old prairies, where till now the moccasined foot of the Indian has alone pressed the soil. We called for a friend, and rode several miles. How I have longed for my eastern friends to be with me in such pleasure-drives as these, that I might hear their bursts of enthusiasm at sight of this world where nature has been prodigal, or their exclamations of fear as we approach some deep ravine lying between us and the fairy land beyond! Flowers of every shade of color, and every variety of form, would entice us beyond the bounds, and my assurance of safe passage over would calm their fears. Tame to them as to me would seem the everyday dull routine of conventional life, its old beaten track of set forms and ceremonies, from which if one deviates, criticisms the stern censor of society, labels him as odd, eccentric, simple, or independent. Freedom is a blessed thing, and thrice blessed is freedom of will, freedom of intellect, freedom of action.
The little wan child is dead. The measles have been fatal here beyond all experience. The bereaved sister will stay with us to-night.
5th. -- I rose early this morning. As I reached the dining- room, with my foot on the last stair, a movement at the door, a rustling attracts my attention. The buffalo robe is pulled away, and a familiar face fills the small gap. After little ceremony I run to tell E. that her father has come -- just from Massachusetts and home. How the questions crowd upon him, and how strangely it seems to us that, in the two months of our absence from Fitchburg, something of greater moment has not happened! While we have been passing through new scenes, continually meeting people from all parts of the Union, with their peculiarities awakening an interest in us, and giving zest to their conversation, each day varied with some new incident, we are looking for something new and strange from home.
Some ladies from Massachusetts soon call. One of them came with the second New England company, and has been through the heats of the day. They brought a bouquet, which for beauty would compare favorably with any green-house collection. As they pranced their horses gayly from the door, and over the table land between us and the brow of the hill north, nothing could have looked finer.
The evening shadows fall, another week is at an end, and seated around the table we are writing to home friends, when there is a new rattling at the rickety door-step, and, almost before we can turn to see, doctor comes in under the buffalo robe. He has been just ten days from home. The pleasant light shining from the windows gave him, in advance of us, a glad welcome. They had been two hundred miles back in the country, and there as here a most delightful region invites settlement.
6th. -- Exclamations of delight from E.'s room called me early from mine. Words poorly convey an idea of the exceeding beauty of the scene. A mist was slowly ascending from the river. The sun, in a chariot of fire, was mounting upwards from a bed of golden clouds, and his beams encircled earth, air and sky, in a halo of glory; the mists still rising became a silver sheen, through which the foliage on the further bank looked yet more green and brilliant. It was a beautiful harbinger of the Sabbath morning, which to man brings peace and quiet here, and offers glory in the unending ages. The quiet of the day is most grateful. Before time for service, Mr. P. came in from "Fisk's," nine miles from here, in the Shawnee Reserve. We attended church and Sabbath school. In the evening sang Whittier's gem of a Kansas song. Some beautiful bouquets were passed in at the door. They were fairy gifts, the giver remaining unseen.
7th. -- The grass is getting so high, and we are so far from the road, Mr. W. spends a long forenoon in beating down the grass, and making a wide path. We ride out again to see our Boston friend. She had been trying to churn, with the cream in a large tin pail, and a large square place cut in the cover for the dasher. She churned, and her husband churned, until they were both weary and of the opinion that country life has its cares as well as pleasures. A new thought came to the gentleman -- he had seen some one pour in cold water to facilitate the butter-making, as it began to look like coming. No sooner thought, than acted upon; but the butter, alas! remained cream in statu quo. The day before, a large rattlesnake, attracted by the genial warmth near the stove, had, without waiting for invitation, or being assured of a welcome, crawled in through a huge crack, and stretched out his three feet of length. With a scream or two on the part of the lady, and some dexterous and telling blows by a stronger arm, his snakeship was rendered harmless, though a most ugly object. I noticed a bottle of medicine on the little white-covered table, and over it pinned upon the wall a recipe for rattlesnake bites, and a sure cure.
Upon our leaving, my friend was determined to share with me the unfortunate cream. So, with one six-quart pail of cream, and another of milk, and a pretty bunch of flowers, we started for home. It was no easy matter to carry such full measures without spilling; but, by very careful driving down the hills, the friend with me carrying one pail while we steadied the other in the bottom of the wagon, we reached Lawrence in safety.
8th. -- I wanted to boil eggs at noon, but, as many times before, when proposing to cook something new, a dilemma arose. This time it came in the lack of a kettle to be used. Doctor's experience in roughing it in California was again useful, and upon his suggestion the eggs came out of the copper boiler properly cooked. A gentleman in at dinner spoke of some beautiful straw-colored flowers he had seen on the hill above us. E. and I started off, after dinner, with shovel in hand, to get some for transplanting. We went half a mile, and found a number of very beautiful bunches, but, after persevering efforts, were obliged to leave them, their firmly-set roots still clinging to the soil. We took up a few rose-bushes to set about the house.
Among the stones down the side of the ledge, a little blue flower, with lily-like leaf, looked out temptingly; and carefully, being most fearful of a fall, I clambered down, and was paid for all my trouble, all my labor in working upon roots I could not remove, in the realization of the fact that one of our garden favorites, the graceful spiderwort, grows wild here.
The house is full of company this evening, and, with the open partitions, there is no quiet anywhere. Dr. C., a practising physician here, who came from Georgia recently, and his brother-in-law, just arrived, are the last who call. They are very gentlemanly men, of northern birth, education and intelligence, with southern ease of manner. Very many of this class of people are looking to Kansas for a home -- a home free from the curse, the blighting mildew of slavery, with genial climate, and this intercourse of enlightened, refined people surrounded by the institutions of free labor.
9th. -- Our stove smoked terribly. We moved it from the west to the south window before noon, and, as the wind changed before nights returned it to its old place. Mr. G. dug up for us some of the straw-colored flowers, which must be a variety of evening primrose.
10th. -- Doctor went to Topeka. We moved the dressing bureau up stairs, which until now has served us for a cupboard. We cut prairie hay, and put down carpet in front room. A young lady, who came to the territory in the autumn, called. She has enjoyed life here very much. Our new book-case was brought up at evening. It is of black walnut, of Kansas manufacture, and very pretty. E. and I spent the whole evening arranging books.
11th. -- We hung pictures and engravings on the unfinished walls, and the parlor really begins to have a pleasant look. Doctor came home. He says we have something new every time he goes away, and he proposed to stay altogether, that we may get all things in order. The truth is, when he is at home, the house is at all hours full of company, and we are busily employed in looking after their physical wants. There is seldom a meal that we have only our own family of five, and, more often than otherwise, the strangers number more than we.
12th. -- A most curious fish was sent in from Topeka to-day. It has a long, projecting, sword-shaped upper jaw, and no lower jaw, -- the mouth being an opening in the under side of the upper one. After being stuffed, it will be sent to Boston. A lady from Maine, who has been located on the hill west of us for a week or two, calls to say they have concluded to leave Kansas. Her husband is much pleased with the country, but the mills do not supply all the lumber people want just now, and he thinks he can't wait. A good deal of lumber has been sawed, but as we remember that the claims for ten miles around Lawrence are all taken, and that they depend upon the mill here for lumber, we can easily see that there must be a scarcity, and that each person must be content with little for the time being.
13th. -- I attended a Sabbath school to-day, four miles out on the California road. There were quite a number of children present, with some older persons. Some little English girls were very bright and interesting. The family at whose house the school was held are from Ohio. They are such good people that one feels it in their presence, and sincerity and unselfishness are manifested in their actions. They have long been earnest workers in the cause of humanity -- have "fed the hungry, clothed the naked," and given the "cup of cold water" to the fainting soul. I attempted to hear a class of girls, whose ages varied from fourteen to eighteen, recite. They were all from the West, and mostly from Missouri. Some of them were bright, quick girls, but with one or two I puzzled my brain to know how to ask questions simply enough to be understood. They had no ideas of their own existence or of God.
14th. -- The thunder rolls in deafening peals, reverberating across the hills, and the lightnings are one continual flash. There is not a moment that the forked, angry lightnings do not dart Chain-like in every and all directions, making the whole country as light as noon-day. Objects miles distant are as clearly seen as by the sun's light. The rains come down a pouring, tumultuous flood, and the winds blow wildly, threatening to overturn everything before them. The house being so unfinished, the saddle-boards not yet on the roof, the staging still standing around it, with crockery covering tables in the dining-room, and no back door, my presence was needed in several places at the same moment. While attempting to move my bed so the rains could not float it off, there was a rattling of glass below stairs. As I reached the lower room, Mr. W. emerged from the other one, and asked, "Are you afraid the house will blow over?"
Upon my replying, "O, no, I am not afraid of anything," he seemed satisfied, and as quickly disappeared.
Concluding, from this present phase of the matter, I need expect no aid from my "prime minister," I went out and took down as much of the staging as I could -- those pieces which were partly loose and striking the house. The shower lasted for hours. Although I have been among the Green Mountains when most severe showers raged there, and the reverberating roar was incessant, I never experienced anything equal in sublimity and grandeur to this.
15th. -- The night brought another shower -- if possible, more severe than that of last night. All the evening the lightning flashed in every direction; but at midnight the thunders sounded, and the great drops fell. The grand artillery of heaven could hardly be distinguished from the noise of the furious blasts of wind and fast-flowing streams, which seem to scorn all old-fashioned showers. The shower came from the west, and there was nothing to break its force as it beat upon the house in full fury. There was a crash below. Hastily as possible I descended the stairway against the driving wind and pelting rain, which came full upon me the moment I stepped on to the staircase, almost taking away my breath. The door had been hung the day before; but the slight button which fastened it together was like a flaxen string before the gale, and the door with-great force had been driven back against the wall. It was impossible to remove so much crockery and glass ware, which, on account of the unfinished cupboard, was still standing round, to any secure place; and it was but the work of a moment with me to "haul" a trunk of the largest size, filled with carpets, against the door after closing it. The next moment found trunk and me in the middle of the floor, and door again wide open. Another effort must be made; and, quicker than thought, or any calculations as to strength, the trunk was replaced, and a large black-walnut dining-table brought up against it.
At this juncture of affairs, the old gentleman made his appearance; and, after some casual remarks upon the weather, by way of suggestion, I spoke of adjusting the pipe, as it looked likely to fall. He looked at it rather suspiciously, though keeping at a safe distance from it, should some extra breath tottle it over, and, without comment, made good his retreat. I was amused, and pitied his fears; then took down the pipe that it might occasion me no more thought. The storm lasted several hours, as on the previous night. It was quite impossible to shade one's eyes from the continual glare, and sleep came not until the morning shadows were breaking.
16th. -- One expected this morning to see some devastation -- some remnant or vestige of the last night's work -- but earth never put on a more smiling face. There was no evidence of the lightning's dread power, although often in the night there was an unmistakable sound of its striking near. Instead of the valleys being full of water, and the earth a perfect sea, its thirsty pores had drank in all, and naught remained to tell of it, save the grass bending under its heavy weight of glistening raindrops.
For ten long months the drought had been unprecedented. Many times a little cloud had arisen, awakening hopes of rain; but the cloud had passed by. In any other country than this, vegetation would have been entirely killed, root and branch dried up; but, before the rains came, even the gentle showers, the grass was clothing the naked earth in a mantle of greenness, and flowers, fairy-like in their gracefulness, were blooming in every sheltered nook. Now the "windows of heaven were opened," as in old time. The rains came, and the winds blew. Earth was gladdened in her vegetable life, and in her hidden springs. From many a dry spot, heretofore, the clear gushing waters came.
17th. -- A most glorious morning. How gayly all nature looks! The woods over in the Delaware country are clothed in every shade of green, from the most delicate to the deepest sea-green, while beautiful browns and blue are intermingled. Until now I have never longed for the artist's skill in conveying to canvas these living pictures of beauty by the master's hand -- more beautiful than that of any earthly limner, inasmuch as the heavenly is above the earthly. Never until now have I reveled in such manifold and different shades of coloring, or felt so deeply my own insignificance beneath creative power. We admire, we worship, we adore, when His presence speaks in the loveliness of this Eden. We feel it in the voice of his thunders -- in their unwritten magnificence and grandeur.
Take a walk down to the town, and call upon one of our fellow-travelers. We find her in a little cabin of mud walls, cotton-wood roof, and with cloth covering the inside. It is tent-shaped, and very small. There is an earthy smell and a stifled feeling as I enter the low door; and, as I at a glance see the want of comfort pervading all, I scarcely can find courage to ask how she likes Kansas. A bed, standing crosswise, fills up one entire end of the cabin, leaving only about eight feet square of space for the family, consisting of father, mother, and four little girls under six years. Two rough benches, about two feet in length, and two rude tables, make up the furniture. The cooking is done out of doors, after camp fashion. The children have been very ill, and the little one now tosses restlessly in its fevered dreams.
I talk cheerfully of the homes we hope to have when a few months are passed -- of the comforts, the institutions, which we will gather around us; but my heart is sad for the little, frail, heartbroken looking woman and her four little ones, and involuntarily my mind questions whether life here shall make their young girlhood wear the look of age. I can bear no longer the oppression, the feeling that the walls will come together, crushing me like a mere shadow between them; and, with a promise to come again, breathe most thankfully the unconfined fresh air.
The mail is in, and, in the office of a friend near by the post office, we wait for its distribution. Letters from home are a pleasant reward. I met Mr. C., of Philadelphia, who says doctor has returned home with a carriage-load of company. There surely is no end to the company. The house now is full in every corner. I give up my room again, and make two extra beds on the floor. I am not yet rested from my journey, and the constant excitement since. Now there is an ungoverned, noisy child, -- a continual presence, -- and no quiet place in the house where I can find a safe retreat. Several more strangers were in the evening. A gentleman, just arrived from Massachusetts, is very ill, and sends up for doctor's attendance upon him. Doctor brought from Missouri a jar of butter -- the first we have had -- and some potatoes.
19th.A large carriage-load went down to the Wakarusa to visit the proposed site of a new town. I enjoyed the quiet occasion by their absence beyond measure, and realized more fully than ever the truth of the injunction:
Else the world will be thy jail."
They returned late in the evening, much pleased with the country and scenery. Their adventures, in crossing the Wakarusa at high water, occasioned more merriment in the retrospect than in the moment when the water was coming into the carriage-body over the top. They were delayed an hour by the straying off of one of their party, which came near preventing their return that night, as the water was rising very fast.
20th. -- All went to church save E. and I, and the three-year-old boy, who intended to rule every one around him. A little decision proved very salutary with him, and we had a quiet morning. As we were nearly through supper a whistle sounded. Each one of us looked at every other in blank astonishment, until some one said, " It is the cars." The thought of a boat occurred to me, and was quickly spoken. The table was vacated in a trice. Some were looking out of the windows and doors, while others ran to the chamber windows. A steamboat was really in sight, and a pretty object she was as she floated gracefully towards the landing, now behind this building, and now that, with the tall old forest for a background. A friend brings in some wild strawberries. How they bring back days long ago, when we knew where the sweetest grew, and, with merry school-friends, traveled far for them through the dim woods down into the meadow!
21st. -- A bright May morning, clear and sunny, reminding one of the beautiful poem of Willis:
Restless to soar above its perishing things."
The heat in the afternoon was equal to July weather at home, and the new jar of butter is fast approaching the fluid state. It has to be removed from one place to another, sometimes in the house, and sometimes on the shady side out of the house, to find the coolest place. We propose various ways for keeping it hard, such as digging a place in the ground large enough for the jar; but, at the suggestion of one of the Boston gentlemen, who was interested in the matter, we decided upon the refrigerator as by far the greatest convenience.
Tomorrow is the day set for the election of representatives in the contested districts. We hear the Missourians are coming to take possession of the polls, as before. A party of horsemen rode in this afternoon over College Hill, west of us, and at first we thought the report of Missourians coming might be true. The gay blankets, bare heads, and shining ornaments, soon showed them to be a party of Kaw Indians. Mr. Simpson was assaulted today by a bitter pro-slavery man.
22nd. -- Election day, and all was quiet. Only eleven pro-slavery votes polled in this district. A very pleasant lady from New York is spending the day. A young gentleman, one of our Kansas party, called. He has a claim on the Wakarusa, with which he is much pleased. Some families of his acquaintance, also of our party, are equally pleased. More gentlemen to tea. We boil ham for doctor, who will leave with three gentlemen on a pleasure trip, or exploring tour, into the country.
23rd. -- Doctor left with his party on their prospecting journey this morning. It is quite an undertaking to get started on such an expedition as they are obliged to take a good stock of provisions and cooking utensils, so that if their route takes them far from any settlers they will not be reduced to starvation. For such trips, usually, we pack a ham, dried meat, hard bread, sugar, a bottle of syrup, cheese, a small box with knives, forks and spoons, and little papers of pepper and salt. Tin cup for drinking, with canteens, are also indispensable. Blankets and comfortables for camping ought not to be forgotten; also provisions for the horses.
Our cupboard was completed today, and we have cleared all the tables of crockery. Our house gives promise now of being, in reality, a house at no distant day.
24th. -- The timbers are drawn for the kitchen. We are to have another room sixteen feet by twelve, and with doors opening directly opposite each other. It will be delightful and cool. A large chest, which we have used for a cupboard since the removal of the bureau, is moved up the stairway, and finds a place just fitting it near the head. We find behind it a missing pie, whose sudden disappearance had been a mystery, and awakened some fears of the too neighborly inclinations of prairie wolves, or the nightly visitation of some hungry traveler; our open doors and unfastened windows furnishing no safeguard against any who choose to enter.
The roads for many days have been full of wagons -- white covered, migrant wagons. We cannot look out of the windows without seeing a number, either upon the road through the prairie east of us, which comes in from Kansas city, where most emigrants leave the boats and buy wagons and provisions for the journey, or, going on the hill west, on their way to Topeka, or other settlements above.
The prairie, too, is alive with people, coming and going. Some are upon horseback, and others in carriages of eastern manufacture; while the busy teams, carrying stone for the hotel and other large buildings, give to the whole town an appearance of unprecedented thrift which renders the name of Yankee Town, bestowed upon it by the border friends, richly merited. At night we see the campfires all about us, on the prairies and in the ravines. The appearance of the men, preparing their evening meal, is singularly grotesque and gypsy-like.
26th. -- Some young ladies called at the house early this morning. They were just in the territory from Ohio, and came up from town to admire the prospect from Mount Oread. We have similar calls almost daily, while frequently for hours there are persons sitting upon the brow of the hill beyond us. A few days since a rather young-looking man called. He was a clergyman, and had buried his wife not long before. He had come to Kansas with his children, the eldest of whom, a little girl of not more than ten summers, was his housekeeper. I have never heard of them since.
We spend the day with a friend, two miles in the country, who sends a carriage for us. The hills on our way look like one vast garden. Elegant bunches of foxglove stand by the wayside, lifting most proudly their tall spikes of purple, lilac and white footers, from a beautiful base of dark lustrous green leaves; straw color, orange, and every variety of shade of pinks, from white to deepest red, add their blended beauty. Our road, after leaving the great California road, than which there was never a finer one, is uneven, and we pass several abrupt ravines. We see the house, or, more properly, the flume, a long time before reaching it, and are constantly expecting to be at the door; but we have to learn, what every one else does in these prairies, that eyes unaccustomed cannot judge correctly of distances.
We found the lady much excited, and glad of our arrival, as she had had some very unwelcome visitors in the absence of her husband. Being also half a mile from the nearest neighbor, rendered it yet more unpleasant. A large party of Kaw Indians had passed the house, while three of the stragglers made a call. They examined daguerreotypes and jewelry lying on the book-case and by signs manifested their desire for them. The lady remained firm in her refusal, and they relinquished the idea of appropriating them. They soon made signs for something to eat, and, after being most abundantly supplied with meat and bread, one of them, the most repulsive of all, made a circle on the floor, and signs of cutting it, then pointing to his mouth to represent his desire that a pie should be set before them. To comply with such request being considered unnecessary, it was refused; whereupon the young Indian pulled away a cloth, at one end of the room, concealing some shelves, and, with boisterous exclamations of delight, brought out some pies. Seating themselves around them, they were also soon devoured. When we arrived the visitors had scarcely left.
The house, which, when finished, will contain two rooms on the lower floor, with an equal number upon the upper, is now only boarded upon one end, and partially upon the sides, enclosing one room, while the partition, which will be between the rooms when the whole outside is finished, but is now the only protection on the north, is partly of wood and partly of cloth; the roof, also, is shingled over the south part. The cooking utensils and stove are out of doors.
In such houses as these, exposed to all the vicissitudes of climate and weather, and all the discomforts of such a life, there is many a person fresh from all the elegancies, the refinements clustering about a home in our eastern cities. The most I have met bear these hardships cheerfully, and hopefully looking to the hour when Kansas shall come into the glorious sisterhood of states, herself untrammeled by the dark rule of slavery. These privations seem naught in the anticipation of such an hour. This spot is a most delightful location for a house. The bluffs, in a semi-circular form, partially enclose a lovely prairie of quarter of a mile in width between them. The house stands near the center, between the northern and southern ridge, while the bluff rises on the west very near the house. A lovely prairie stretches away nearly two miles eastward, with wood-skirted ravines, and Lawrence rising on an eminence beyond. Means alone are needed to make the grounds as beautiful as any one could desire; and our friends who have chosen the spot for a Kansas home are reveling in golden anticipations for the future.
We ride home as the sun is setting behind massive clouds in orange and violet, in fantastic shapes, resembling Chinese pagodas and temples. The mutterings of the thunder, when we are a little distance from home, warn us of the near approach of another shower, and by dint of much persuasion our friends remain with us during the night.
27th. -- A pleasant morning. The face of the earth looks bright after such a drenching. We laugh at my night adventure. I gave up my own room to my friends, and, hastily taking some buffalo robes from the woodpile, made a bed of them, and of comforters upon the floor in E.'s room. Having been a little time asleep was awakened by a quick stinging pain in my hand, and the consequent thought of a rattlesnake. The dampness about the windows had ruined the matches which lay near, and I could strike no light from any of them. To aid me, however, it still occasionally lightened faintly, and I felt secure in walking over as much of the floor as would be revealed in the light; and slowly, every inch of the staircase being thus scrutinized that I might not step on any snake, if snake it was, I reached the dining room and struck a light. Then I carefully shook every article composing my bed, hunted behind trunks and in every corner, and found nothing, though the pain in my hand continued the same. Just as I was preparing to blow out my light again, one of the girls, looking over the foot of the bedstead, says, "What are you doing?" and was much amused at my reply, "I am hunting rattlesnakes!"
The pain in my hand was probably the effect of imagination, as we had been speaking of rattlesnakes the day before -- of several houses where they had been found coiled up among the logs, and of one which very unceremoniously had crawled in between two persons occupying a bed in a tent.
We went to the Sabbath school in the country with Mr. S. Near the close of the exercises the young man, H., who made the brutal attack upon Mr. S., a few days before, came in with four or five young men. If their faces were any index to their character, they were fitting companions for him. They seated themselves quietly, and offered no violence. If they came with such intentions, the circumstances, or it is not impossible, that the good in them for the time outweighed the evil, brutal nature, and prevented their execution.
Towards evening we heard that Mr. Nute, the clergyman sent out by the Unitarian Association, would preach upon Capitol Hill, and we saw the people already gathering. The scene was impressive. The preacher stood while the audience sat upon rough seats and stones upon the summit of the hill. Earth had never spread out a fairer picture than this lying before us. At one glance the eye rested upon river, forest, mountain and prairie, miles and miles distant as well as near, and the last rays of the setting sun shed a halo of glory over all. The novel circumstances under which we met were touched upon; our leaving the old homes among the eastern hills to find a new one in the "waiting West," and the hope which actuates one and all of seeing the same institutions flourish here, which make life desirable there. The protecting care and guidance of the same kind Parent are still over and around us. He provides for us this beautiful temple, "not made with hands," in which to worship him; and if from our work here he calls us home, he offers heaven with its "eternal mansions."
Mr. N. was for some years the pastor of a dearly loved friend of mine, of whom she often spoke, and in this way he seems to me like an old friend. We are glad he has come among us with his genial sympathies, his heart warmth, his earnest ways, his outspoken words for truth, and his abiding love for freedom and the right. We need such manliness among us, in this new, unsettled state of things; such men, with unwearying confidence in God, and the humanity of men; with whom the love for a distressed brother is more than one's faith in creeds, and whose faith is strong that in doing good to one's fellow we show our love to God. That men are born of the times is an old adage. That men, needed for the times, may arise ready for the work in Kansas, ministers as well as laymen, men of nerve, of principles "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves," is our continual hope. Most propitious, as well as most disastrous, in its influences upon this territory, will be the effect of the institutions now planted here.
30th. -- More rain has fallen today, though the clouds cleared away at noon. There has been no day yet, since we came, that the sun has not shone. At the Sabbath School, children from three schools are to have a celebration on the morrow.
Death has again come into our little settlement, and taken one of its most loved, most useful members. Since my coming, the prattling infant, like the dying away of the summer wind, has faded and fallen. The bride of a year, with her young hopes still fresh, still gayly looking into the future -- earth's future -- has passed beyond the unseen veil, and the prairie grass waves over her. Ties of children, the unutterable love of a mother who would leave them orphans indeed, could not bribe the death-angel, and she too has entered the shadowy land. But now, the strong man, with the harness of duty on, has fallen at his post. Yesterday he was well as usual, and today he is not. It comes so suddenly upon us, we cannot realize that Dr. Clark is dead.
Hard as it ever is to realize that death is more than a brief parting, that our friends will not return, until time and their long absence force the sad truth upon us, doubly so is it in this case, where but yesterday his patients shared his care. How sadly will this intelligence fall upon the ear of his brother, now absent on a tour in the territory! With the stricken friends of his Massachusetts home we can almost feel the shrinking heart, the overpowering oppression, the utter desolation of earth, as the missive bears to them the mournful intelligence. Earth has its thorny ways, and hedged about with sorrows. Among the saddest of them is for friends we loved so well to die in a far-off home, and we be not there.
No one more than Dr. C. had the esteem, the love of the people; and their grief is heartfelt and sincere.
There has been much sickness on the Wakarusa, and for many days the doctor had taken no rest. Last evening, at tea-time, he said he felt better than usual. He was soon after taken with the disease, which, owing to the exhausted state of his system, quickly ended in death. The procession is now winding over the hill to the place of graves.