Toast: a software titan missing the chance for software profits

publish 2022-05-02,browse 3
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the house was built on the side of a hill, so steep that a high ladder was necessary to enter the front door, while the back one opened against the hill side; at the foot of this sudden eminence ran a clear stream, whose bed had been deepened into a little reservoir, just opposite the house. a noble field of indian-corn stretched away into the forest on one side, and a few half-cleared acres, with a shed or two upon them, occupied the other, giving accommodation to cows, horses, pigs, and chickens innumerable. immediately before the house was a small potatoe garden, with a few peach and apple trees. the house was built of logs, and consisted of two rooms, besides a little shanty or lean-to, that was used as a kitchen. both rooms were comfortably furnished with good beds, drawers, &c. the farmers wife, and a young woman who looked like her sister, were spinning, and three little children were playing about. the woman told me that they spun and wove all the cotton and woolen garments of the family, and knit all the stockings; her husband, though not a shoe-maker by trade, made all the shoes. she manufactured all the soap and candles they used, and prepared her sugar from the sugar-trees on their farm. all she wanted with money, she said, was to buy coffee, tea, and whiskey, and she could get enough any day by sending a batch of butter and chicken to market. they used no wheat, nor sold any of their corn, which, though it appeared a very large quantity, was not more than they required to make their bread and cakes of various kinds, and to feed all their live stock during the winter. she did not look in health, and said they had all had ague in the fall; but she seemed contented, and proud of her independence; though it was in somewhat a mournful accent that she said, tis strange to us to see company: i expect the sun may rise and set a hundred times before i shall see another _human_ that does not belong to the family. i have been minute in the description of this forest farm, as i think it the best specimen i saw of the back-woods independence, of which so much is said in america. these people were indeed independent, robinson crusoe was hardly more so, and they eat and drink abundantly; but yet it seemed to me that there was something awful and almost unnatural in their loneliness. no village bell ever summoned them to prayer, where they might meet the friendly greeting of their fellow-men. when they die, no spot sacred by ancient reverence will receive their bonesreligion will not breathe her sweet and solemn farewell upon their grave; the husband or the father will dig the pit that is to hold them, beneath the nearest tree; he will himself deposit them within it, and the wind that whispers through the boughs will be their only requiem. but then they pay neither taxes nor tythes, are never expected to pull off a hat or to make a curtsy, and will live and die without hearing or uttering the dreadful words, god save the king. about two miles below cincinnati, on the kentucky side of the river, mr. bullock, the well known proprietor of the egyptian hall, has bought a large estate, with a noble house upon it. he and his amiable wife were devoting themselves to the embellishment of the house and grounds; and certainly there is more taste and art lavished on one of their beautiful saloons, than all western america can show elsewhere. it is impossible to help feeling that mr. bullock is rather out of his element in this remote spot, and the gems of art he has brought with him, shew as strangely there, as would a bower of roses in siberia, or a cincinnati fashionable at almacks. the exquisite beauty of the spot, commanding one of the finest reaches of the ohio, the extensive gardens, and the large and handsome mansion, have tempted mr. bullock to spend a large sum in the purchase of this place, and if any one who has passed his life in london could endure such a change, the active mind and sanguine spirit of mr. bullock might enable him to do it; but his frank, and truly english hospitality, and his enlightened and enquiring mind, seemed sadly wasted there. i have since heard with pleasure that mr. bullock has parted with this beautiful, but secluded mansion. chapter 6 servantssocietyevening parties the greatest difficulty in organising a family establishment in ohio, is getting servants, or, as it is there called, getting help, for it is more than petty treason to the republic, to call a free citizen a _servant_. the whole class of young women, whose bread depends upon their labour, are taught to believe that the most abject poverty is preferable to domestic service. hundreds of half-naked girls work in the paper-mills, or in any other manufactory, for less than half the wages they would receive in service; but they think their equality is compromised by the latter, and nothing but the wish to obtain some particular article of finery will ever induce them to submit to it. a kind friend, however, exerted herself so effectually for me, that a tall stately lass soon presented herself, saying, i be come to help you. the intelligence was very agreeable, and i welcomed her in the most gracious manner possible, and asked what i should give her by the year. oh gimini! exclaimed the damsel, with a loud laugh, you be a downright englisher, sure enough. i should like to see a young lady engage by the year in america! i hope i shall get a husband before many months, or i expect i shall be an outright old maid, for i be most seventeen already; besides, mayhap i may want to go to school. you must just give me a dollar and half a week, and mothers slave, phillis, must come over once a week, i expect, from tother side the water, to help me clean. i agreed to the bargain, of course, with all dutiful submission; and seeing she was preparing to set to work in a yellow dress parseme with red roses, i gently hinted, that i thought it was a pity to spoil so fine a gown, and that she had better change it. tis just my best and my worst, she answered, for ive got no other. and in truth i found that this young lady had left the paternal mansion with no more clothes of any kind than what she had on. i immediately gave her money to purchase what was necessary for cleanliness and decency, and set to work with my daughters to make her a gown. she grinned applause when our labour was completed, but never uttered the slightest expression of gratitude for that, or for any thing else we could do for her. she was constantly asking us to lend her different articles of dress, and when we declined it, she said, well, i never seed such grumpy folks as you be; there is several young ladies of my acquaintance what goes to live out now and then with the old women about the town, and they and their gurls always lends them what they asks for; i guess you inglish thinks we should poison your things, just as bad as if we was negurs. and here i beg to assure the reader, that whenever i give conversations they were not made À loisir, but were written down immediately after they occurred, with all the verbal fidelity my memory permitted. this young lady left me at the end of two months, because i refused to lend her money enough to buy a silk dress to go to a ball, saying, then tis not worth my while to stay any longer. i cannot imagine it possible that such a state of things can be desirable, or beneficial to any of the parties concerned. i might occupy a hundred pages on the subject, and yet fail to give an adequate idea of the sore, angry, ever wakeful pride that seemed to torment these poor wretches. in many of them it was so excessive, that all feeling of displeasure, or even of ridicule, was lost in pity. one of these was a pretty girl, whose natural disposition must have been gentle and kind; but her good feelings were soured, and her gentleness turned to morbid sensitiveness, by having heard a thousand and a thousand times that she was as good as any other lady, that all men were equal, and women too, and that it was a sin and a shame for a free-born american to be treated like a servant. when she found she was to dine in the kitchen, she turned up her pretty lip, and said, i guess thats cause you dont think im good enough to eat with you. youll find that wont do here. i found afterwards that she rarely ate any dinner at all, and generally passed the time in tears. i did every thing in my power to conciliate and make her happy, but i am sure she hated me

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