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How now, my headstrong?
Romeo and Juliet.
The Twa Dogs.
I had become so much attached to my gentle Sally, that I was really quite dispirited at her departure; but, not being provided with immediate assistance, was soon engrossed with household cares.
And let no one underrate the value of those cares to an unoccupied or
a harassed mind, whose mental resources are limited. Who has not seen the tear of sorrow dry away amid their gentle but imperious demands? Who has not seen oppressed and tender women forget, in the routine which constitutes the comfort of a husband, that husband's unkindness? And then, what
an admirable outlet are household cares for a scold! View that face screwed up to moderation and even courtesy at the breakfast table. How gracefully is that cup forwarded! What gentle accents accompany it! But the lord and master of the household departs! Hear his last footstep, and then notice how the clouds gather round that delicate creature, until the brow is contracted, the voice is sharpened, the eye darts withering beams, and those lips open (shall I say it ?) for the unequivocal terms slut and hussy! While sometimes, rarely I hope, the tender palm comes vibrating in unthoughtof vigour on some uncovered ear, or (alas for delicacy !) that little implement which once won the heart of an Eastern Prince* is flourished over an extended and trembling hand.
My mother, with a mother's care, supplied me with new “help.” She was from Vermont, and as green as her native hills. Cinda Tyler was her name, though she took some pains to tell me she was christened Lucinda.
* See Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper,
What a contrast to my Sally! No one could look at her without thinking of strapper, bouncer, or some such inelegant association. She had carrot-coloured hair of unmanageable thickness, even when the experiment of a comb was tried, which was rarely done except on the Sabbath, when even the poorest in New-England feel as if the purity of the body should honour the day, whatever may be the undress of the soul.
Cinda's arms were bare and red, large and short. She had a perpetual look of eager curiosity. There were a few things I never could break her of. She invariably nodded her head to my visiters, even if she had a dish full of meat in her hand, and said, “How fares ye?" And say
it she would, until an answer was extorted, whatever might be the repulsive dignity of the person addressed. I endeavoured, at first by nods and signs, to make her understand that this ceremony could be dispensed with, but all in vain ; with her eyes wide open, she stood at my parlour-door, “ making her manners” (little
bobbing courtesies), until she obtained the sought-for notice. Finding her incorrigible to hints, I told her, as she was using one evening the whole artillery of her politeness on Judge
my husband's, that she might go out. She opened her great gray eyes wider than ever, and said, somewhat gruffly, “I ain't a goin to let his honour s’pose I was brought up mungst wild criters." His honour, who had been stating a case of great interest, roused by her voice, perceived her for the first time, and said, with perfect good-nature, " Ah, how d’ye do?" and Cinda set him down from that moment as a gentleman; and so he was. It is that immediate conformity to the feelings of individuals that marks a gentleman or lady, whether they address their equals or inferiors.
One morning, in my absence from home, a lady called to see me, and Cinda, from sheer curiosity, anticipated little Polly in going to the door. "Is Mrs. Packard within ?" said the lady.
No, ma'am,” said Cinda, with great prompt
“ but you'd better come in and set with me a spell."
I met my intended guest at the gate, and could not account for her look of ill-suppressed mirth, until Cinda gave me a hint of what she called manners in her reception.
Another peculiarity of Cinda’s was to examine every new purchase of mine, and ask the price, and sometimes the ornaments of my visiters did not escape this ordeal. I was getting somewhat wearied with these oddities, notwithstanding her skill in washing, hanging on pots and kettles, and all the drudgery of her calling, when one evening a few ladies visited me, and Cinda, after sufficient drilling, undertook to hand tea, solemnly promising me not to address them. As she passed from one to another, I felt a little anxiety at the look of scrutiny she cast, from the head downward, on every individual. Her appearance began to attract the attention of my friends, but she preserved silence, until, at the close of the service, a very sweet-looking girl bent her blue eye upon