Dutch Bobbin Lace Patterns

Chapter VI.
Dutch Farmhouses.

THE old Dutch homestead of colonial times fitted the place and the race for which it was built. There was plenty of solid level earth for it to stand on, — so it spread out, sunny and long. The men who built it had never climbed hills or lived on mountain-tops, nor did they mean to climb many stairs in their houses. The ceilings were low, the stairs short and steep, and the stories few; a story and a half were enough for nearly every one. The heavy roof, curving slightly inward, often stretched out in front at the eaves, to form a shelter for the front stoop. Sometimes in the rear it ran out and down over a lean-to to within six or eight feet from the ground. Sometimes dormer windows broke the long roof-slope and gave light to the bedrooms or garret within. This long roof contracted the walls of the second-story bedrooms, but it afforded a generous, useful garret, which to the Dutch housekeeper was one of the best rooms in the house.

The long side of the house was usually set to receive the southern sunshine; if convenient, the gable-end was turned to the street or lane; for, being built when there were poor roads and comparatively little travel, and when the settlers were few in number, each house was not isolated in lonesome woods or in the middle of each farm, but was set cosily and neighborly just as close to those of the other settlers as the extent of each farm would allow, and thus formed a little village street.

The windows of these houses were small and had solid wooden shutters, heavily hinged with black-painted iron hinges. Sometimes a small crescent-shaped opening cut in the tipper portion of the shutter let in a little dancing ray of light at early dawn into the darkened room. In the village as in the city the stoop was an important feature of the house and of home life. Through the summer months the family gathered on this outdoor sitting-room at the close of day. The neighbors talked politics as they smoked their evening pipes, and the young folk did some mild visiting and courting.


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