Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/55

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Chapter IV.

My readers must go with me to a military station at the North, and date back two years from the time of my story. The season must change, and instead of summer sunsets and roses, we will bring before them three feet of snow, and winter's bleakest winds.

Neither of these inconvenienced the company assembled in the comfortable little parlor of Captain Moore's quarters, with a coal-grate almost as large as the room, and curtains closely drawn over the old style windows: Mrs. Moore was reduced to the utmost extremity of her wits to make the room look modern; but it is astonishing, the genius of army ladies for putting the best foot foremost. This room was neither square nor oblong; and though a mere box in size, it had no less than four doors (two belonged to the closets) and three windows. The closets were utterly useless, being occupied by an indomitable race of rats and mice; they had an impregnable fortress somewhere in the old walls, and kept possession, in spite of the house-keeping artillery Mrs. Moore levelled against them. The poor woman gave up in despair; she locked the doors, and determined to starve the garrison into submission.

She was far more successful in other respects, having completely banished the spirits of formality and inhospitality that presided in these domains. The house was outside the fort, and had been purchased from a citizen who lived there, totally apart from his race; Mrs. Moore had the comfort of hearing, on taking possession, that all sorts of ghosts were at home there; but she was a cheerful kind of woman, and did not believe in them any more than she