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CHAPTER XV.

CONCLUSION.

Frae morn to e'en its naught but toiling, At baking, roasting, frying, boiling. The Twa Dogs. THE successor of Mrs. Sliter was Sukey Hopkins, an untamed damsel from Nantucket; and as Edward required some attendance at the office, he engaged a friend of hers, Aaron Wheeler, who had driv her down, to remain with us. I passed every forenoon for a month in the kitchen, to initiate her in cookery; and even after that period was obliged to be with her whenever I had guests, of course at the period when I ought to have been most unincumbered with care. I was obliged to watch the last turn of the spit, and the last bubble of the boiling gravy, and even lay the meats in their right position; for know, inexperienced reader, that a lady may as excusably stand on her own head at her table, as have her turkey or goose in an unauthorized posture. One bleak autumnal day we had company to dine; but I became so much heated with my business and anxiety as not to dream of the necessity of a fire. Just five minutes before dinner was carried in, Iran up stairs, changed my dress, and seizing a fan, descended to the drawing-room. My zeal in fanning was proportioned to the kitchen thermometer; and it was not until I detected a shiver in a lady who sat within the influence of my AEolus, as Edward prettily called a fan, that I perceived my faua pas. The day after Aaron's induction into his duties, I went to Cornhill, shopping; and Edward left word with him that if a certain gentleman called, he must ask him in to sit until he came. When Edward opened the door, what should he behold but Aaron, sitting with his feet on the with the last Nan

fender, entertaining Mr. tucket news!

A few evenings succeeding I invited com

pany to tea. I was the whole morning drilling Sukey and Aaron, and as I went to make my toilet, I said, “be very careful, Aaron, that the ladies and gentlemen are all supplied with sugar and cream in their coffee.” When the company had assembled, and the very last visiter, according to the old and formidable rule, had arrived and was seated, Aaron entered with his tea tray, followed by Sukey with the cream and sugar. He walked round as carefully as if he were treading on eggs. When the circuit was over, and he had reached the door, his mind seemed to misgive him; and with an anxious look, standing on tiptoe, he said, “I say, how are ye on't for sugar and cream in that corner * On that memorable evening a lady spilled some quince syrup on the carpet, when, to my utter dismay, Sukey set the waiter on the floor, rushed out, and brought in the mop to wipe it up. I have inserted these lingering reminiscences in this chapter, to show that the most skilful

housewifery cannot counteract the mortification and embarrassment of our present system. I took infinite pains to make my daughter useful. She was a sweet, docile girl, and at the age of eleven often made our tea, arranged the table, * and assisted in handing it when we had company; but notwithstanding this early discipline, the awkward blending of lady and housewife led to countless anxieties; indeed, it requires an omnipresent eye to meet one's guests with the personal welcome they demand, while providing for their grosser wants. How many girls like Sukey have I passed months in drilling, when, just as I began to realize the effects of my care, they have taken a sudden whim and departed How many were there whom I never could teach, whose inattention or wilfulness rendered me miserable ! How much hard labour have I performed while paying high prices for that of others' What then can be done to remedy this evil? It is the opinion of Adam Smith, and an humble housekeeper agrees with

him, that the perfection of society consists in the division of labour. Is it not monstrous that educated, intelligent women, should be obliged to give over their children to the care of servants, and pass their days in the most menial occupation ? And must our lovely daughters be called from intellectual or graceful accomplishments, to associate with the vulgar inmates of the kitchen 7 We have a partial system, which it appears to me might easily be carried through the whole order of social life. We have our chimneysweeps, our wood-sawyers, our bakeries; why not have our grand cooking establishments, our scourers, our window-cleaners, &c. 7 I will give one example, a direct one however, of the helplessness of a housekeeper on the present plan of life. She perceives, and none but those who have witnessed it can tell how irritating is the feeling, that about five hundred panes of glass in her house require washing. How can they be cleansed? It is properly a

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