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CHAPTER XXI.

A BARGAIN.

I am not much of a bargain-buyer, having had, like most housekeepers, sufficient experience on that subject to effect a pretty thorough cure of the disease, mild as it was in the beginning. As all diseases, whether bodily or mental, leave behind them a predisposition to return, I have, from time to time, been subjected to slight paroxisms of the old complaint. From the

effects of my last rather mild attack, I am now recovering

I was passing along Walnut street, on my way to drop a letter in the Post Office, one morning, about ten o'clock, when the ringing of an auctioneer's bell came suddenly on my ears. Lifting my eyes, I saw the flag of Thomas & Son displayed before me, and read the words, “ Auction this morning.”

Here was an “exciting cause,” as the doctors say, and, instantly I felt

a movement of the old affection. Two or three ladies happened to be entering the store at the time, and the sudden inclination to follow them was so strong that I did not attempt its resistance. It was not my intention to buy any thing, of course ; for I was conscious of no particular want. I only just wisher, if any wish were really full formed, to see what was to be sold.

Scarcely had I entered the door, when a sofa, so nearly new that it hardly bore a mark of having been used, presented itself, and captivated my fancy. The one that graced our parlor had grown somewhat out of fashion. It was in good keeping, but rather plain in style: and, as we had recently treated ourselves to handsome new carpets, did not appear to quite so good advantage as before. This one, to be sold at auction, was made after a newer pattern, and, as my eyes continued to rest upon it, the desires to have it in my parlor was fully formed.

I have said, that on entering the auction store, I was unconscious of any particular want. This was true, notwithstanding Mr. Smith and I had, a few days before, called at a cabinet maker's wareroom, to look at a sofa. In consequence of

, a former experience in cheap furniture, we had no thought of getting a low-priced article from a second or third rate establishment; but designed, when we did purchase, to act wisely and get the best. We had been looking at a sofa for which sixty-five dollars was asked ; and were hesitating between that and another upon which fifty dollars was set as the price.

It was but natural, under these circumstances, that I should look upon this sofa with more than ordinary interest. A glance told me that it was an article of superior make, and a close examination fully confirmed this impression.

A few minutes after my entrance, the sale be

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gun, and it so happened that the sofa came first on the list.

“We shall begin this morning,” said the auctioneer, with a superior, fashionable sofa, made by It has only been in use a short time, and is, in every respect, equal to new.”

All my predilections in favor of the sofa were confirmed the moment the manufacturer's name was announced. Of course, it was of the best material and workmanship. “ What is bid for this superior sofa, made by

went on the salesman,—“Seventy dollars -sixty-five-sixty-fifty-five-fifty-forty-five -forty—thirty-five—thirty.' “ Twenty-five dollars,” said a timid voice.

“ Twenty-five! Twenty-five !" cried the auctioneer.

Twenty-six,” said I. The first bidder advanced a dollar on this; then I bid twenty-eight; he went up to twentynine, and I made it thirty, at which offer the sofa was knocked down to me.

“ That's a bargain, and no mistake," said the salesman. “ It is worth fifty dollars, if it's worth a cent.”

“I'll give you five dollars advance," proposed a lady by my side, who had desired to bid, but could not bring up her courage to the point. “No, thank you,” was my prompt answer.

1 was too well pleased with my bargain.

When Mr. Smith came home to dinner on that day, I met him in the parlor.

“ What do you think of this ?" said I, pointing to the new sofa. I spoke in an exultant voice.

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“ Where in the world did it come from ?” enquired Mr. Smith, evincing a natural surprise.

“I bought it,” was my reply. 66 When? where ?” “ This morning, at auction.” " At auction !” 56 Yes; and it's a bargain. Now guess what I

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gave for it?"

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“ Ten dollars ?"

“Now Mr. Smith! But come; be serious. Isn't it cheap at forty dollars ?" Mr. Smith examined the sofa with care, and

, then gave it as his opinion that it wasn't dear at forty dollars. “I got it for thirty,” said I.

Indeed! I should really call that a bargain, -provided you don't discover in it, after a while, some defect."

“ I've looked at every part, over and over again,” was my response to this, " and can find a defect nowhere. None exists, I am satisfied.”

“ Time will show," remarked Mr. Smith. There was the smallest perceptible doubt in his tone.

Next morning, on going into my parlors, I was a little worried to see two or three moths flying about the room. They were despatched with commendable quickness. On the morning that followed, the same thing occurred again; and this was repeated, morning after morning. Moreover, in a few days, these insects, so dreaded by housekeepers, showed themselves in the chambers above. Up to this time, I had neglected to put away my furs, a new set of which had been purchased during the previous winter. I delayed this no longer.

House-cleaning time had now arrived. My new carpets were taken up and packed away, to give place to the cooler matting. Our winter clothing also received attention, and was deposited in chests and closets for the summer, duly provided with all needful protection from moths. After this came the calm of rest and self-satisfaction.

One day, about the middle of July, a lady friend called in to see me.

“ That's a neat sofa, Mrs. Smith,” said she, in the pause of a conversation.

“ I think it very neat," was my answer.

“It's made from the same pattern with one that I had. One that I always liked, and from which I was sorry to part.”

“ You sold it?" said I.
66 Yes. I sent it to auction.”
"Ah! Why so ?”

“I discovered, this spring, that the moth had got into it.”

“ Indeed!"

“ Yes. They showed themselves, every day, in such numbers, in my parlors, that I became alarmed for my carpets. I soon traced their origin to the sofa, which was immediately packed off to auction. I was sorry to part with it; but, there was no other effective remedy.”

“ You lost on the sale, I presume,” I ventured to remark.

“ Yes; that was to be expected. It cost sixty dollars, and brought only thirty. But this loss

66

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