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veals to me that they think I may soon be folded to rest in the grave.
Our pecuniary circumstances enabled us to indulge in the luxuries of life; but none of these interfered with my education for usefulness. My mother was proud to say that I could manufacture a frilled shirt in two days, with stitches that required a microscope to detect them. I made my own bed, swept and dusted the apartments, mended my own clothes, and when pudding or cake was to be made, rolled up my sleeves, and went to beating eggs, with strokes that I should half like to see given to lazy modern girls, lolling over new-fangled cookerybooks. But this was not all.
“Clarissa," said my judicious mother, “by not knowing how to make puddings and pies, you may be occasionally mortified; but if you are ignorant of roasting and boiling, you may be annoyed every day.”.
On washing and ironing days, therefore, I spent a large portion of my time in the kitchen; well known, on such occasions, as the New
England Pandemonium. Quite contented did I feel, if able to retire to my bed-room, “my loop-hole of retreat,” by four o'clock in the afternoon. The only domestic I distinctly remember in my mother's establishment was a washerwoman, called Ma'am Bridge, whose mouth and chin resembled the modern pictures of old Mother Hubbard, and who was an extra assistant on washing days. She wore a mob cap, with a broad unstarched frill, which, in hanging out clothes against the wind, fell back, displaying her sharp physiognomy. One day I was laying some ham on the gridiron, my mnother preferring it broiled to fried, while Ma'am Bridge was sudsing the clothes in a tub before her, and dexterously throwing them into a rinsing tub behind. A sudden thunder-gust had arisen, and a brilliant flash of lightning blazed through the kitchen. I heard a great splash, and turning round saw Ma'am Bridge seated in the wash-tub, with the water gushing out on all sides; her head was thrown back, and her broad frill with it, developing a mingled
expression of consternation at the danger, and joy at her escape. It was one of those odd combinations in which the ludicrous triumphs over the fearful. As she rose from the tub, like Venus from her shell, or Cowper's Rose, "all dripping and drown'd," I laughed until I brought upon myself her just indignation.
I do not feel myself called upon to say how many loaves of bread, under my apprenticeship, came out of the oven as heavy as a bad joke, or as sour as an unkind one; how my pickles turned soft and yellow; how I filled a bed without curing the feathers; how I put pepper instead of alspice into a batch of mince-pies; how many chemical separations instead of affinities took place in my baked beans and Indian puddings; and how my pan-dowdy disconcerted all the family, except my cousin Sam, a black-eyed boy, with a raging appetite, who dined with us every Sunday, and who affirmed that the paste was not tough, and that he did not mind if the apple cores did choke him a little. These mischances will happen in every department, and
[ may claim the sympathy of the lawyer who blunders in his maiden speech, of the doctor who kills his first patient, and of the preacher who soothes his first hearers to sleep. This acknowledgment, however, I will make en passant, that my mother's persevering tuition in cookery has saved me a thousand mortifications, to which I have seen ignorant housewives exposed.
THE FIRST TRIAL.
It were a goot motion if we give over pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between Master Abraham and Mistress Page.
It was beginning to be a subject of deep calculation with me, whether a brunette should wear pink or yellow riband on her bonnet; and I had decided on the former, when one Sabbath, on entering the meeting-house, I observed a stranger outside the porch, and on glancing at the gallery, after I was seated, I again perceived him there. I thought he looked at our pew more than was correct, but, some how or other, I kept looking at him to see whether he would become more attentive to the exercises, and thus our eyes repeatedly met.
After service he came to the porch, for in New-England people retire from their pews