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   Chapter 19 LOTS OF THINGS.

Trials and Confessions of a Housekeeper By T. S. Arthur Characters: 7055

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"O DEAR!" said I to Mr. Smith one morning, as we arose from the breakfast-table, at which we had been partaking of rather a badly-cooked meal,-"more trouble in prospect."

"What's the matter now?" asked Mr. Smith, with a certain emphasis on the word "now" that didn't sound just agreeable to my ears.

"Oh, nothing! nothing!" I answered, with as much indifference of manner as I could assume.

"You spoke of trouble," said he, kindly, "and trouble, in my experience, is rather more tangible than 'nothing.'"

"I've another raw Irish girl in the kitchen, who, according to her own confession, hasn't been above ten days in the country. Isn't that enough?"

"I should think so. But, why, in the name of goodness did you take another of these green islanders into your house?"

"It's easy enough to ask questions, Mr. Smith," said I, a little fretfully; "but-" I checked myself. We looked at each other, smiled, and-said no more on the subject.

"Your name is Anna, I believe?" said I, as I stepped to the kitchen-door, a couple of hours afterwards.

"Thot's me name," replied the new domestic.

"I will send home a loin of veal and some green peas," said I. "They are for dinner, which must be ready at two o'clock. You know how to roast a piece of veal, I presume?"

"Lave me for thot same, honey!"

"And the green peas?"

"All right, mum. I've lived in quality houses since I was so high. I can cook ony thing."

"Very well, Anna. We will see. I have to go out this morning; and you must do the best you can. Don't fail to have dinner ready by two o'clock. Mr. Smith is a punctual man."

Anna was profuse in her promises.

"If," said I, recollecting myself, as I was about opening the street door, and returning along the passage,-"If any thing is sent home for me, be sure to take it up stairs and lay it carefully on my bed."

"Yes, mum."

"Now don't forget this, Anna."

"Och! niver fear a hate, mum," was the girl's answer. "I'll not forget a word iv y'r insthructions."

I turned away and left the house. My principal errand was a visit to the milliner's, where I wished to see a bonnet I had ordered, before it was sent home. It was this bonnet I referred to when I desired Anna to place carefully on the bed in my chamber, any thing that might come home.

On my way to the milliner's, I stopped at the grocer's where we were in the habit of dealing, and made selections of various things that were needed.

The bonnet proved just to my taste. It was a delicate white spring bonnet, with a neat trimming, and pleased my fancy wonderfully.

"The very thing," said I, the moment my eyes rested upon it.

"Do you want a box?" asked the milliner, after I had decided to take the bonnet.

"I have one," was my answer.

"O, very well. I will send the bonnet home in a box, and you can take it out."

"That will do."

"Shall I send it home this morning?"

"If you please."

"Very well. I'll see that it is done."

After this I made a number of calls, which occupied me until after one o'clock, when I turned my face homeward. On arriving, I was admitted by my new girl, and, as the thought of my beautiful bonnet now returned to my mind, my first words were:

"Has any thing been sent home for me, Anna?"

"Och! yis indade, mum," was her answer,-"lots o' things."

"Lots of things!" said I, with manifest surprise; for I only remembered at the moment my direction to the milliner to send home my bonnet.

"Yis, indade!" responded the girl. "Lots. And the mon br

ought 'em on the funniest whale barry ye iver seed."

"On a wheel barrow!"

"Yis. And such a whale barry! It had a whale on each side, as I'm a livin' sinner, mum and a cunnin' little whale in front, cocked 'way up intil the air, thot didn't touch nothin' at all-at all! There's no sich whale barrys as thot same in Ireland, me leddy!"

"And what did you do with the lots of things brought on this wheel barrow?" said I, now beginning to comprehend the girl.

"Put them on y'r bed, sure."

"On my bed!" I exclaimed, in consternation.

"Sure, and didn't I remember the last words ye spake till me? 'Anna,' says ye,-'Anna, if ony thing is sent home for me, be sure till take it carefully up stairs and lay it on me bed.' And I did thot same. Sure, I couldn't have found a nicer place, if I gone the house over."

Turning from the girl, I hurried up stairs.

It was as I had too good reason to fear. Such a sight as met my eyes! In the centre of my bed, with its snowy-white Marseilles covering, were piled "lots of things," and no mistake. Sugar, tea, cheese, coffee, soap, and various other articles, not excepting a bottle of olive oil, from the started cork of which was gently oozing a slender stream, lay in a jumbled heap; while, on a satin damask-covered chair, reposed a greasy ham. For a moment I stood confounded. Then, giving the bell a violent jerk, I awaited, in angry impatience, the appearance of Anna, who, in due time, after going to the street door, found her way to my chamber.

"Anna!" I exclaimed, "what, in the name of goodness, possessed you to do this?"

And I pointed to the bed.

"Sure, and ye towld me till put them on ye's bed."

"I told you no such thing, you stupid creature! I said if a bonnet came, to put it on the bed."

"Och! sorry a word did ye iver say about a bonnet, mum. It's the first time I iver heard ony thing about a bonnet from yer blessed lips. And thot's thrue."

"Where is my bonnet, then? Did one come home?"

"Plase, mum, and there did. And a purty one it is, too, as iver my two eyes looked upon."

"What did you do with it?" I enquired, with a good deal of concern.

"It's safe in thot great mahogany closet, mum," she replied, pointing to my wardrobe.

I stepped quickly to the "mahogany closet," and threw open the door. Alas! for my poor bonnet! It was crushed in between two of Mr. Smith's coats, and tied to a peg, by the strings, which were, of course, crumpled to a degree that made them useless.

"Too bad! Too bad!" I murmured, as I disengaged the bonnet from its unhappy companionship with broadcloth. As it came to the light, my eyes fell upon two dark spots on the front, the unmistakable prints of Anna's greasy fingers. This was too much! I tossed it, in a moment of passion, upon the bed, where, in contact with the "lots of things," it received its final touch of ruin from a portion of the oozing contents of the sweet oil bottle.

Of the scene that followed, and of the late, badly-cooked dinner to which my husband was introduced an hour afterwards, I will not trust myself to write. I was not, of course, in a very agreeable humor; and the record of what I said and did, and of how I looked, would be in no way flattering to my own good opinion of myself, nor prove particularly edifying to the reader.

I shall never forget Anna's new variety of "whale-barry," nor the "lots o' things" she deposited on my bed. She lived with me just seven days, and then made way for another a little more tolerable than herself.

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