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loud fit of laughter. By the time this subsided, his lobstership was in the middle of the kitchen floor. Picking him up, I threw him into a pot of boiling water, and then retreated from the kitchen, so convulsed with laughter that I could not utter a word.
Kitty did not soon hear the last of her attempt to broil a lobster.
The observance of economy in matters of family expenditure, is the duty of every housekeeper. But, there is an economy that involves wrong to others, which, as being unjust and really dishonest, should be carefully avoided. In a previous chapter, I introduced the story of a poor fish-woman, as affording a lesson for the humane. Let me here give another, which forcibly illustrates the subject of oppressive and unjust economy. It is the story of a “Straw
. berry-Woman,” and appeared in one of the magazines some years ago. “Strawbʼrees ! Strawb'rees !" cried a poorly
! clad, tired-looking woman, about eleven o'clock one sultry June morning. She was passing a handsome house in Walnut street, into the windows of which she looked earnestly, in the hope of seeing the face of a customer. She did not look in vain, for the shrill sound of her voice brought forward a lady, dressed in a silk morning-wrapper, who beckoned her to stop. The woman lifted the heavy tray from her head, and placing it upon the door-step, sat wearily down.
“ What's the price of your strawberries ?” asked the lady, as she came to the door.
“ Ten cents a box, madam. They are right fresh.”
“ Ten cents!" replied the lady, in a tone of surprise, drawing herself up, and looking grave. Then shaking her head and compressing her lips firmly, she added :
“I can't give ten cents for strawberries. It's too much."
“You can't get such strawberries as these for less, madam,” said the woman. I got a levy a box for them yesterday.”
“Then you got too much, that's all I have to say. I never pay such prices. I bought strawberries in the market yesterday, just as good as yours, for eight cents a box.”
“I don't know how they do to sell them at that price,” returned the woman.
“ Mine cost nearly eight cents, and ought to bring me at least twelve. But I am willing to take ten, so that I can sell out quickly. It's a very hot day.” And the woman wiped, with her apron,
the perspiration from her glowing face.
“No, I won't pay ten cents,” said the lady (?) coldly. I'll give you forty cents for five boxes,
“ and nothing more.
“But, madam, they cost me within a trifle of eight cents a box."
“I can't help that. You paid too much for them, and this must be your loss, not mine, if I buy your strawberries. I never pay for other people's mistakes. I understand the use of
money much better than that.”
The poor woman did not feel very well. The day was unusually hot and sultry, and her tray
felt heavier, and tired her more than usual. Five boxes would lighten it, and if she sold her berries at eight cents, she would clear two cents and a half, and that would be better than nothing.
“I'll tell you what I will do,” she said, after thinking a few moments; “I don't feel as well as usual to-day, and my tray is heavy. Five boxes sold will be something. You shall have them at nine cents. They cost me seven and a half, and I'm sure it's worth a cent and a half a box to cry them about the streets such hot weather as this.”
“I have told you, my good woman, exactly what I will do," said the customer, with dignity. “If you are willing to take what I offer you, say
if not, we needn't stand here any longer. “Well, I suppose you will have to take them," replied the strawberry-woman, seeing that there was no hope of doing better. “ But it's too little.”
“ It's enough,” said the lady, as she turned to call a servant. Five boxes of fine large strawberries were received, and forty cents paid for them. The lady re-entered the parlor, pleased at her good bargain, while the poor woman turned from the door sad and disheartened. She walked nearly the distance of a square before she could trust her voice to utter her monotonous
An hour afterward, a friend called upon Mrs. Mier, the lady who had bought the strawberries. After talking about various matters and things interesting to lady housekeepers, Mrs. Mier said:
“How much did you pay for strawberries this morning ?”
“You paid too much. I bought them for eight. “For eight! Were they good ones ?”
“Step into the dining-room, and I will show them to you."
The ladies stepped into the dining-room, when Mrs. Mier diplayed her large, red berries, which were really much finer than she had at first supposed them to be.
“ You didn't get them for eight cents,” remarked the visitor, incredulously.
“ Yes I did. I paid forty cents for five boxes.” “ While I paid fifty for some not near so good.”
“I suppose you paid just what you were asked ?”
Yes, I always do that. I buy from one woman during the season, who agrees to furnish me at the regular market price.”
“Which you will always find to be two or three cents above what you can get them for in the market.”
“You always buy in market.”
Oh, no! She asked ten cents, and pretended that she got twelve and a half for the same quality of berries yesterday. But I never give these people what they ask.”
“ While I never can find it in my heart to ask a poor, tired-looking woman at my door, to take a cent less for her fruit than she asks me. A