Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/78

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The houses were usually composed of one room, where, near the open fire, and fixed against the wall, stands the bedstead or lit clos, of old oak, shut in by carved sliding panels, often bearing an inscription or some sacred symbol. The mattresses and feather-beds are so piled up, that there is hardly room to creep in. Before it is the big chest containing the family wardrobe, answering the double purpose of a seat and a step by which to ascend the lofty bed. Cupboards on each side often have wide shelves, where the children sleep. Settles and a long table complete the furniture; the latter often has little wells hollowed out in the top to hold the soup instead of plates. Over the table, suspended by pulleys, are two indispensable articles in a Breton house,—a large round basket to cover the bread, and a wooden frame to hold the spoons. Festoons of sausages, hams, candles, onions, horse-shoes, harness, and tools, all hang from the ceiling. The floor is of beaten earth. One narrow window lets in the light. There are no out-houses, and pigs and poultry mingle freely with the family.

The gardens are well kept, and produce quantities of fruit and vegetables. The chief food of the