Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

the least grain tired. You havn't a power of work for a hired man to do.'

“ We felt some comfort in the idea that we had only ignorance to contend with, though that was bad enough, considering our inexperience Henry very good-naturedly instructed him in his business, and although it seemed very strange to him that two persons should require a third to stand and watch them while they were eating, yet finding the work easy and profitable, he soon acquitted himself to our satisfaction.

“As we lived at some distance from town, I was frequently without the common necessaries for cooking, from my total ignorance of what ought to be furnished beforehand. My new cook, though perfectly obliging, knew nothing of her business, and it was deplorable to see her serve up a dinner. It happened, perhaps unfortunately, that we had no company for several weeks, and Henry and myself were too much engrossed with each other to observe the gradual decline of good order which had taken

place since the departure of our city help; but we were at length aroused by a letter from Henry's uncle and former guardian, announcing that as we had been at housekeeping long enough to have every thing in fine order, he would pay us a visit. We were delighted at the prospect of seeing him, and it did not occur to us immediately that he was very particular, and our domestics very ignorant.

“When he arrived I felt some anxiety that he should have a comfortable dinner, and went into the kitchen for the first time to consult with the cook. I confers, with all my inexperience, I felt shocked and alarmed at the dirt with which I was surrounded, and at the singular appropriations of the various articles of kitchen furni. ture. One of the best tin pans was on the hearth, full of ashes; a fine damask towel had been used to wipe the dishes; the oil-can and rags stood in a chair; and a pair of Henry's good boots were thrust under the sink with some iron pots, in which were the accumulated skimmings of weeks.


“ I found that the butcher had left a leg of veal, and nothing else; but recollecting that


uncle was very fond of stuffed veal, I told the cook to stuff and roast it. She asked if I had any sweet herbs. I told her that I believed the herbs in the kitchen were used, but that my mother had put me up several paper bags of sage, catnip, &c., which I supposed would do as well, and ordered her to put in a plenty, as my uncle liked his food high-seasoned.

“My husband invited two neighbouring gentlemen to take a family dinner. When the veal was carved and tasted, I leave it to your imagination to conceive of my distress and Henry's mortification, on finding that our only dish was ruined. A half-picked ham-hone was summoned from the store-room, on which our guests satisfied the cravings of appetite.

“The following day we made more elaborate preparations, and Mr. Lawrence asked me, in the most gentle manner, just to look into the kitchen and see that every thing was going on right. Being sincerely desirous to please my

[ocr errors]


dear husband and discharge my duty, I determined to spend the morning in the kitchen. But there I was in everybody's way, and only worried by trying to him my unskilful domestics; indeed, I was' wholly incompetent even to advise them.

“I began to feel some trepidation as the dinner-hour approached; and when I saw the heterogeneous mass on the tab, in a style so different from our former elegant dinners, I had scarcely courage to take 'm seat. uncle sat next to me, and offereć io carve a pair of roasted chickens. When he cut off the wing, out dropped from the crop (as I have since heard it is called) corn, and beans, and grass, just as they had been eaten by the fowl I perceived by his countenance luat something was wrong, but he adroitly concealed the unsightly objects from our visiters, and refrained from making any remark.

"When our guests departed, he took me aside, and said,

"My dear child, you had materials enough

on your table for twenty persons, but your cookery is deplorably deficient. Your mother neglected a very important part of your education. You will spend your fortune to very little purpose if, amid the abundance with which you are surrounded, you cannot procure a wellcooked dinner.'

“I felt at that moment as if I would have given up all my French, German, and every accomplishment, in exchange for the knowledge, which would make me a good housekeeper Every young married woman who is ignorant of her duties will meet mortifications at every step; an elegant establishment, an ample for tune, and even a devoted husband, will not secure her happiness. "You may suppose


my nerves became considerably excited; indeed, I could not al ways control my feelings during my uncle's visit. The day before his departure Henry again had company, and had been at some paing to procure a brace of partridges for dinner. They looked very well, for I studied a cook

« AnteriorContinuar »