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MICHIGAN CHAPTER 15

The Old French Habitants and their Ways

If the cargo was human, the cart was backed up to the church steps or to the horse block and the people stepped out as gracefully as circumstances would permit. Case's have been known when the mischievous small boy loosened the staple in such way that chattering girls were unexpectedly dumped in the middle of the road. The public vehicle, and possibly the family coach of the nabob, was the calache. This is a two-wheeled affair with low wheels, the body mounted on leather strap springs, and furnished with a folding top, or hood. The average habitant could not, of course, afford so expensive a v&-%icle. The date of the arrival in Detroit of the first one is not known, but it seems certain that they were never quite common. The tradition which has come down from a former generation is that ladies dressed in the height of fashion and in the richest silks have been seen riding in the streets seated upon the floor of the ordinary springless cart. One can imagine that it was not an easy vehicle to climb into or alight from, and that the occupant jolting over the rough roads experienced anything but the poetry of motion.
The old habitants were generously hospitable. As seems to be almost universally the case, pioneers are gratified at the opportunity for entertaining strangers. Their very isolation arouses a feeling of sympathy and they cordially welcome visitors. It was a common saying of the early settlers that the latch string of the rude cabin in the clearing was always hanging outside the door, so that whoever desired might lift the latch and ' enter. He was sure to find a cordial welcome.

MICHIGAN


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