Our Slavic Fellow Citizens - 1910

Slovak Emigration
Chapter VI


Of course, conditions vary with localities and with individual housewives, but my general impression is of interiors tidy and homelike, however deep the mud in the village street. Even an earthen floor may be made to suggest cleanliness. I remember especially a call at a house where the dauhter had recently gone to America to get work. The mother who welcomed us led us through the entry, where a girl was washing, into the living room and offered us the traditional "bread and salt" -- that is, as a matter of fact, a loaf of rye bread and a knife that we might serve ourselves unstinted. We honored the pretty old custom, and I wished that I had cut off a bigger piece, it tasted so good.

The room was low, but scrumpulously neat. On the wall hung gay flowered crockery, products of am old home art, specimens of which collectors highly prize. There were double windows, opening casement fashion, and, in the space between, pots of wallflowers. On the bed were piles of square feather pillows, the pride and visible assets of the tbrifty housewife. Each has a bright undercover (among rich city people this would be of satin, -- yellow, pink, blue or what not), over which is drawn a case of handspun linen, with ends of lace insertion, also handmade, through which the color peeps prettily. It takes some sixteen geese to supplY one feather bed. There was a sewing machine and a table on which lay a copy of a Sokol magazinc (that is, the organ of one of the universal patriotic athletic associations). On the wall were pictures of sacred subjects. These often, even in much poorer homes, make a sort of frieze about the top of the room. Often, too, there hangs over tbe table a curious little ornament made of a blown eggshell, with tail and wings of pleated paper. This represents a dove and symbolizes the Holy Ghost.


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