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with a silent bow to their acquaintance, and introduced himself to my mother as Mr. Packard from Boston, the son of a friend. He remained a few days at the village on law business, for he was an attorney, and though my mother was one of the most unostentatious women in the world, yet before he left us she made him understand that I could skewer a goose, roll puff paste, complete a shirt, and make a list carpet, as well as I played on the spinet and worked tent-stitch. She was on the point of telling him that I could spin a little, but I protested against any thing so old-fashioned.
According to my motto, I “gave over pribbles and prabbles," and married, at the age of seventeen, Edward Packard. I remember the moment, when, after a short ride, I first entered my adopted home in the North Square, one of the most genteel quarters in the then town of Boston. The new carpet, new chairs, and new mahogany, with its virgin hue, undarkened by wax and turpentine, are all before me. My mother was with me, and though she held one
of my hands, and my husband the other, I could not restrain my tears from falling, happy though they were. ..
I felt half ashamed to praise the parlour furniture, though I secretly said, “It is mine." On recovering from my shyness, I visited the various apartments, and I think I was most attracted by the nicely sanded kitchen, not even excepting a closet, which I might now call a boudoir, fitted up expressly for me by my husband.
How bright were those new tins and brasses, arranged with ostentatious glitter on the walls and dresser! How comfortable that suspended warming-pan! How red and clean those bricks, that extended to the right and left, leaving space for a family in the corners. A settle, too, that glory of New England kitchens, was there, now banished for the inhospitable chair, which accommodates one instead of three! I had often presided in a parlour, but never before was mistress of a kitchen!
A council had been called previous to my marriage, of the number of "help" which we should require, and it was decided that a female cook, and a little girl to “wait and tend," would answer our purpose, and be sufficiently genteel.
I was introduced, on that memorable evening, to Nancy, the cook. She was the picture of cleanliness. She had on, what is called in New-England, a “calico short loose gown," and at the south, “a chintz wrapper," with a check apron, a little starched, tied round her waist. Both cook and kitchen were in perfect keeping.
“Well, Nancy," said I, with a half modest, half patronising tone, “I am a young housekeeper, but I dare say we shall get along very well."
“Oh, ma'am,” replied Nancy, “I am not at all petikelar. I never has no differences with nobody."
How amiable ! thought I; and I gave her a calico bag, containing iron holders, kettle hold ers, wipers, and dishcloths, presented me by an old aunt, who had quilted them for the occasion, and who said, with a commiserating voice, as she presented them, “Young housekeepers have no rags, poor things !"
The same kind friend gave me a rag-bag, and repeated to me an anecdote she was fond of relating, of a lady in Cambridge, who sold rags enough at four cents a pound to buy herself a silver porringer. “ And mind, Clarissa," continued she, “ that you do not throw away the ends of your thread—they all help to fill up." I heeded her directions; and who knows but some act of diplomacy, or some effusion of genius, may have been perpetuated on the paper made from my “shreds and patches ?”
My husband was at home nearly all the first week, and my mother, nominally my guest, relieved me from every care; but on the Monday following, she returned to her own residence, Edward went to his office, and I was left alone. I soon felt weary of idleness. How willingly would I have darned a stocking, or clear-starched, a muslin; but, alas, every thing was whole, and in order. I tried to find a withered leaf on my geraniums, but they all looked as fresh as
if they too were just married. Centre tables were not then in fashion, or I could have beguiled a little time in disarranging them for effect; but no! every article of furniture was in its proper parallel, and every chair at right angles with its neighbour, while books and knick-knacks, as drawing-room luxuries, were unknown.
To amuse the tedious hours of my husband's absence, I went into the kitchen, and offered to assist Nancy in making a pudding. My overtures were coldly received, but I thought that that might be “her way,” and I proceeded to break the eggs, giving little Polly the raisins to pick.
“We don't put so much milk as that ere in puddins,” said Nancy, eying me keenly.
My mother had taught me culinary arts with great care, and I felt on strong ground while I defended my quantity of milk. Nancy answered me again with some heat, and when she found me following my own recipe in si