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As the evening and pipes waned, little negro slaves brought comfortiers, or open metal dishes of living coals, to start the smouldering tobacco afresh in the long Dutch pipes.
The cellar of these old farmhouses was a carefully built apartment, for it played a most important part in the orderly round, in the machinery of household affairs. It was built with thought, for it had to be cool in summer and warm in winter. To accomplish the latter result, its few small windows and gratings were carefully closed and packed with salt hay in the autumn, and a single trap-door opening outside the house furnished winter entrance. Within this darkened cellar were vast food-stores which put to shame our modern petty purchases of weekly supplies. There were always found great bins of apples, potatoes, turnips, and parsnips. These vegetables always rotted a little toward spring and sprouted, and though carefully sorted out and picked over sent up to the kamer above a semi-musty, damp-earthy, rotten-appley, mouldy-potatoey smell
which, all who have encountered will agree, is unique and indescribable. Strongly bound barrels of vinegar and cider and often of rum lay in firm racks in this cellar; and sometimes they leaked a little at the spigot, and added their sharply alcoholic fumes to the other cellar-smells. Great hogsheads of corned beef, barrels of salt pork, hams seething in brine ere being smoked, tonnekens of salted shad and mackerel, firkins of butter, kilderkins of home-made lard, jars of pickles, kegs of pigs' feet, or souse, tumblers of spiced fruits, graced this noble cellar. On a swing-shelf were rolliches and head-cheese and festoons of sausages. On such a solid foundation, over such a storage-room of plenty, thrift, and prudence, stood that sturdy edifice, — the home-comfort of the New York farmer.
On the ground-floor above were low-studded rooms, one called the kamer, which was the parlor and spare bedroom as well; for on its clean sanded floor often stood the best bedstead, of handsome carved mahogany posts, with splendid high-piled feather-beds, heavy hangings, and homespun linen sheets and pillow-cases. Back of this kamer, in the linter, was the milk-room.