By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Spring Rush
After the hustle and bustle of last night the house was quiet once again. Ma packed a lunch for Pa to eat on the way to Brookins in the morning. Noise outside the window pane alerted them more men had arrived. Five of them to be exact and they were on their way to Huron. Pa knew they had to put them up for the night or they would freeze to death traveling through the night. Ma made them supper and then sent the girls up to bed early with instructions to lock their latched door and not to come down until they were called in the morning.
That next morning they girls laid in bed. Downstairs they heard the strangers talking and the breakfast dishes clatering. At last they finally left, but now it was too late for Pa to set out for Brookins. He would have to go in the morning because he wanted a full day's sun. That night there were more strangers and the next night even more. They felt stuck because they couldn't refuse them shelter. So Ma came up with the idea to charge them twenty five cents a meal and twenty five cents for shelter overnight for man or horse. Every day strangers from Iowa, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even New York gathered around the supper table.
When the last wagon load of men finally left, Ma called the girls downstairs. She told them Pa had left for Brookins before sun-up. Mr. and Mrs. Boast would help keep an eye on things and they would be staying in the house. Ma would sleep upstairs with the girls. That evening they had another wagonload of visiters. The men hadn't finished eating when another wagon brought more men into the house. Again while feeding them a third wagon showed up. Now there were fifteen men. Where on earth would they all sleep? The floor would be crowded. Finally at last they were all fed and the dishes all cleaned. Ma carrying Grace followed the girls upstairs and fastened the hatch door behind them, being sure to lock it into place.
During the night a ruckus downstairs shook the entire house. "It's all right Laura, Mr. Boast is down there," said Ma. Laura soon fell back to sleep. In the morning Ma shook her awake. While the others slept, Laura helped with breakfast. The men got into their boots and Ma and Mrs. Boast hurried breakfast. There weren't enough dishes to feed everyone so Laura had to wash them quickly. At last the men were gone and Ma called up to Mary and then she and Mrs. Boast cooked more breakfast. Laura washed dishes and set the table one final time. Last night's rukus was due to the men bringing bottles and a jug of whisky into the house. With a crowd of fifteen drunks Mr. Boast thought it best to let them fight it out.
That new day brought a man with a load of lumber. He planned to build a store on the townsite. He pleasantly urged Ma to board him while he was building. Next came a man and his son from Sioux Falls. He too brought lumber to build a grocery store. They also begged Ma to board them while they built, to which she agreed.
"If Ingalls doesn't hurry back, we'll have a town here before he comes," said Mr. Boast.