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Our First Camp
As we were provided with fresh bread, cake, cold chicken, boiled ham, pickles, preserves, etc., supper was quickly prepared for our small family of four, and we enjoyed it immensely. Then comes my time to write, as I have promised friends that I will keep a journal on this trip. Mr. Kerfoot thinks the Government is going to smash and greenbacks will not be worth one cent on the dollar, so he has turned all his money into gold coin, and stowed it into a small leather satchelit seems quite heavy to lift or carry.
As Mrs. Kerfoot was sitting on a camp-chair near our wagons, Mr. Kerfoot came toward her, saying, "Here, mother, I want you to take care of this satchel, it is all we will ask you to do, the girls will cook and wash dishes, the boys take care of the stock, and I will oversee things generally, and we will do nicely." She accepted the responsibility without a word, and as he walked away she turned to me, and said, "I wish it was in some good bank, I expect nothing else but that it will be stolen, and then what will become of us?"
While I have been writing Neelie (Cornelia) and Sittie (Henrietta) have been getting supper for a family of twelve, no small undertaking for them, as they have been used to servants and know very little about cooking.
When everything was ready, Neelie came to her mother exclaiming, "Come, mamma, to supper, the first ever prepared by your own little girl, but not the last I hope, see how nicely the table looks, Emma and Delia picked those wild flowers for you, how brightly the new tinware shines, let its imagine it is silver and it will answer the same purpose as if it were."
Her mother smiles cheerfully, as she takes her arm, Cash sneers at Neelie's nonsenseas she calls it. Mr. Kerfoot nods approval, as Neelie escorts her mother to the table. When all are seated Mr. Kerfoot bows his head and asks God's blessing on the meal.
Every one seems to enjoy this picnic style of taking supper out of doors and linger so long at the table, that Neelie has to hint that other work will have to be done before dark.
When at last the table is cleared, she says to Emma and Delia, "Don't you want to help me wash these nice, bright dishes and put them away?"
They are always ready to help Neelie, and the work is soon done. Amid laughter and fun they hardly realize they have been at work. Mr. Kerfoot insists that we women and the children must sleep in houses as long as there are houses to sleep in. Mother and I would greatly prefer sleeping in our spring-wagon, to making a bed on the floor in a room with so many, but as he has hired the room we do not want to seem contrary, so have offered no objection. The boys have carried the mattresses and bedding into the house, and Neelie has come for me to go with her to arrange our sleeping-room. So good-night.