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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter VII: Belgian characteristics and customs,   pp. [81]-97 PDF (2.5 MB)

Page 84

edge of the little clearing that extended a few acres
about his log cabin and his eyes lit up with satis-
faction as he contemplated the scene.  It was a
little over two years now since he had left his
home in Grandlez in the province of Brabant, Bel-
gium, to test his mettle in this new country. It
was exactly two years since he had staked his
claim in this wilderness of Wisconsin, in a coun-
try, whose very name-Kewaunee-still sounded
barbaric to his unaccustomed ears.  He pride-
fully viewed the results of those two years' labor
in retrospect now-his log home with the adjacent
well-sweep, the clearing, the little stable of cedar
uprights chinked with moss that housed his oxen
and a couple of hogs and lastly, the purposely neat
and symmetrical straw stack that he carefully
guarded by means of a birch pole cloture. This
was his first real harvest and the earth had yield-
ed with an abundance that was almost breath-
taking.  He paused to multiply his yield by his
still virgin acres and the result made him fairly
dizzy. Slowly then his gaze wandered back to his
dwelling again and oddly enough his countenance
fell and the glad light in his eyes gave way to a
vaguely disturbing gloom. He turned abruptly in-
to the forest on the impulse of a sudden remember-
ed errand and pointed his sabots in a northeaster-
ly direction.
     To you and me that walk along the forest
trail in the northwestern corner of what is now
Lincoln township would be a pleasant, novel and
exciting experience. Tall maples and basswoods
lifted their clean boles up twenty feet to a leafy,
matted arbor. In the gathering dusk startled
deer gazed transfixed a moment and then scamper-
ed suddenly in panicky flight. There was a faintly
perceptible coolness in the hollows now and the
tang of wood smoke from settlers' clearings -
those thin smoke spirals that bend back to earth
on the damp, cool air of evening. If Amia were
aware of Nature's bounty or beauty, there was no
hint of it in his expression. Something had hap-
pened at home that upset, temporarily, all his
hopes and ambitions, something that was all the

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