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MICHIGAN FOOD & BEES

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

Having learned their mode of warfare, the nature and time of their attacks, we were accustomed to fill old pans with chips, or some light material, and kindle a fire in them, both in front and rear of the house, or wherever there was a door or opening. These fires were kept smothered so as to produce the greatest volume of smoke. This was our only defense. Mosquito bars had not been invented then. Yet our enemies would frequently, in some bold onset, break through this wall of smoke and attack us in our cabins. The smudge was then removed into the house, where we would sit enveloped in its dense clouds, with eyes suffused with tears, patiently suffering anything that would rid us of these tormentors. I have seen the log house all quiet at the close of day, not a mosquito about; but as soon as we started a smudge, that was the signal for their attacks; they "smelt the battle afar off, and shouted among their trumpeters, ha—ha!" Some of the settlers would not use the smudge on that account, alleging that you discovered yourself to them by it, and hence invited their attacks. I have often gone into reflection on the subject (in their absence) of this annoyance, musing over what discontent and unhappiness these pestiferous imps could create! Coleridge says: "Beneath the rose1 lurks many a thorn, That breeds disastrous woe; And so dost thou, remorseless corn, On Angelina's toe. " Now here was a thorn, or a nettle, that not only lurked beneath the rose, but beneath every tree, bush, and covert around us; and it was a thorn that felt like business, and went about "breeding disastrous woe. " "Don't mind them, " says some novice, who had never made their acquaintance; "go to sleep and let them sing!"1 Don't mind them? They like that. Go to sleep? What odds to them ? Couldn't they murder sleep ? Did they mind your slaps ? Despite your blows they would light on your face, nose, ears, or neck, tame as a spot of mud.

Michigan


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