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cooking, I prefer getting something to eat down town.”
“Very well,” said Mrs. Sunderland—“so much the better.”
I left the house a few minutes afterwards, glad to get away. Every thing was confusion, and every face under a cloud.
“How are you getting along ?" I asked, on coming home at night.
Humph! Not getting along at all!” replied Mrs. Sunderland, in a fretful tone.
" In two days, the girls might have thoroughly cleaned the house from top to bottom, and what do you think they have done ? Nothing at all !”
“ Nothing at all! They must have done something.”
“Well, next to nothing, then. They havn't finished the front and back chambers. And what is worse, Ann has gone away sick, and Hannah is in bed with a real or pretended sickheadache.”
“Oh, dear!” I ejaculated, involuntarily. “Now, a’nt things in a pretty way?”
“I think they are,” I replied, and then asked, “what are you going to do ?”
“I have sent John for old Jane, who helped us to clean house last spring. But, as likely as not, she's at work somewhere."
Such was in fact the case, for John came in a moment after with that consoling report.
“Go and see Nancy, then," my wife said, sharply, to John, as if he were to blame for Jane's being at work.
John turned away slowly and went on his
errand, evidently in not the most amiable mood in the world. It was soon ascertained that Nancy couldn't come.
Why can't she come ?” enquired my wife. . “She says she's doing some sewing for herself, and can't go out this week,” replied John.
« Go and tell her that she must come. That my
house is upside down, and both the girls are sick."
But Nancy was in no mood to comply. John brought back another negative.
“Go and say to her, John, that I will not take no for an answer : that she must come. I will give her a dollar a day.”
This liberal offer of a dollar a day was effective. Nancy came and went to work on the next morning Of course, Ann did not come back; and as it was Hannah's last day, she felt privileged to have more headache than was consistent with cleaning paint or scrubbing floors. The work went on, therefore, very slowly.
Saturday night found us without cook or chamber maid, and with only two rooms in order in the whole house, viz. our chambers on the second story.
By great persuasion, Nancy was induced to stay during Sunday and cook
An advertisement in the newspaper on Monday morning, brought us a couple of raw Irish girls, who were taken as better than nobody at all. With these new recruits, Mrs. Sunderland set about getting things to right.” Nancy plodded on, so well pleased with her wages,
that she continued to get the work of one day
lengthened out into two, and so managed to get a week's job.
For the whole of another precious week we were in confusion.
“ How do your new girls get along ?” I asked of my wife, upon whose face I had not seen a smile for ten days.
“Don't name them, Mr. Sunderland! They're not worth the powder it would take to shoot them. Lazy, ignorant, dirty, good-for-nothing creatures. I wouldn't give them house-room.” “ I'm sorry to learn that. What will you do ?”
” I said,
“Dear knows! I was so well suited in Ann and Hannah, and, to think that they should have served me so! I wouldn't have believed it of them. But they are all as destitute of feeling and principle as they can be. And John continues as sulky as a bear. He pretended to shake
. the carpets, but you might get a wheelbarrowload of dirt out of them. I told him so, and the impudent fellow replied that he didn't know any thing about shaking carpets; and that it wasn't the waiter's place, any how."
“ He did ?
“ Yes, he did. I was on the eve of ordering him to leave the house."
“ I'll save you that trouble," I said, a little warmly.
“Don't say any thing to him, if you please, Mr. Sunderland," returned my wife. "There couldn't be a better man about the house than he is, for all ordinary purposes.
If we should lose him, we shall never get another half so good.
I wish I'd hired a man to shake the carpets at once; they would have been much better done, and I should have had John's cheerful assistance about the house, which would have been a great deal."
That evening I overheard, accidentally, a conversation between John and the new girls, which threw some light upon the whole matter.
“John,” said one of them, “ what made Mrs. Sunderland's cook and chamber maid go aff and lave her right in the middle of house-clainin' ?”
“ Because Mrs. Sunderland, instead of hiring a woman, as every lady does, tried to put it all off upon them.”
66 Indade! and was that it ?”
“Yes, it was. They never thought of leaving until they found they were to be imposed upon; and, to save fifty cents or a dollar, she made me shake the carpets. I never did such a thing in my life before. I think I managed to leave about as much dirt in as I shook out. But I'll leave the house before I do it again.” “So would I, John. It was a downright mane
, imposition, so it was. Set a waiter to shaking carpets!"
“I don't think much has been saved," remarked the waiter, for Nancy has had a dollar a day ever since she has been here.'
“ Yes; and besides that, Mrs. Sunderland has had to work like a dog herself. All this might have been saved, if she had hired a couple of women at sixty-two and a half cents a day for two or three days, and paid for having the car
pets shaken ; that's the way other people do. The house would have been set to rights in three or four days, and every thing going on like clockwork.” I heard no more.
I wanted to hear no more; it was all as clear as day to me. When I related to Mrs. Sunderland what John had said, she was, at first, quite indignant. But the reasonableness of the thing soon became so apparent that she could not but acknowledge that she had acted very unwisely.
“ This is another specimen of your saving at the spigot,” I said, playfully.
“ There, Mr. Sunderland! not a word more, if you please, of that,” she returned, her cheek more flushed than usual. “It is my duty, as your wife, to dispense with prudence in your household; and if, in seeking to do so, I have run a little into extremes, I think it ill becomes you to ridicule or censure me. Dear knows! I have not sought my own ease or comfort in the matter."
My dear, good wife," I quickly said, in a soothing voice, “I have neither meant to ridicule nor censure you; nothing was farther from my thoughts."
“You shall certainly have no cause to complain of me on this score again,” she said, still a Iittle warmly. “When next we clean house, I will take care that it shall be done by extra help altogether."
“Do so by all means, Mrs. Sunderland. Let there be, if possible, two paint-cleaners and scrubbers in every room, that the work may