New England Outpost

The Little Brown House on The Albany Road

The Buzzing Wheel Sang A Lullaby

"The Buzzing Wheel Sang A Lullaby."

and sent swiftly up the flue. David could watch his spouse, as with her long iron peel she removed the glowing coals when the oven had reached the right pitch of heat, and with her husk-broom, wetted as need be in a pail of water on the hearth, swept clean of ashes the oven floor. And when the oven door had been put up a suitable time to "draw down the heat," he could see Bathsheba as she deftly tossed from her light wooden peel, into the farthermost depths of the heated cavern, the squat loaves of rye and Indian bread. This peel was as white as river sand and "elbow grease" could make it. In due time David could snuff the rich savor of the brown beauties as they were taken out on the peel and piled upon the table near him, a good week's supply for the family. The front part of the oven may have been filled in with pumpkin pies, or tarts with the initials of the children cut in pie crust on the top, or, on state occasions, it may be with a spare rib of pork, or a pigling entire, a haunch of venison, a wild goose. or a turkey. Nothing came amiss to this great, warm-hearted friend of the family.

But the oven had a rival in the attentions and affection of David. Close by, at its right shoulder, was a capacious fireplace, with its generous back log, fore log and top log, urging up the climbing flame, every day, and in season all day long. As the mouth of the oven was closed six days out of seven, it had a poor chance against the loquacious fireplace, which by a side glance came full in view from the shoemaker's bench. Besides, there was the great iron dinner pot, which the swinging crane held out daily over the very heart of the merry fire, that welcomed it with great glee, laughing and dancing under and about it, embracing it with its red arms, and touching its very lid with its curling lips of flame. The stolid iron, yielding to its ardent friend, was forced to acknowledge its subtle influence, and soon David could hear the contents of the big-bellied pot merrily gurgling and babbling of the jolly time they were all having, although in hot water together.

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This page was last updated on 11 Feb 2006