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SOCIAL CONDITIONS ABOUT 1791.   153

a hearth of flat stones upon which great logs were burnt. The chimney was made of round poles plastered with mud, or of a flour barrel with the bottom knocked out. Sometimes no barn was put up for years, and the grain had to be stacked and threshed outside on ground beaten hard and smooth. Often the furniture of the house was entirely home-made, down to the spoons, moulded of pewter or cut out of basswood; at night the rooms were lighted with home-made candles; and the clothing of the family was washed with home-made soap.

Dress.   The women learned to weave and spin as

soon as they could get wool and grow

flax, but even then

deerskin was used for blankets and for all sorts of garments, from coats and dresses to coverings for the feet. It wore well and was cheap. whilst t h e poorest stuffs and calicoes were too dear to buy. except, perhaps, for a wedding-dress. A

plain white muslin cost at least two dollars a yard. Some of the Loyalists had, indeed, a few remains of former splendour, such as feathered hats, gowns of brocaded silk, and shoes with silver buckles; but these were care-fully saved for very great occasions.

For years the people lived almost entirely Food. on fish, game, and wild fruits, which were all plentiful. Wheat was not much grown, for without proper mills it was difficult to grind, and pounded Indian corn was used instead of flour. Real tea was dear, but

PIONEER SETTLER'S CABIN.

Picture

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