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Servitude is honour, not
GOETHE. Herman and Dorothea.
CINDA blundered through ten months in my service, sometimes fretting and sometimes amusing me with her oddities, before her curiosity and love of change induced her to leave me. At length, with some little emotion, she announced her intention of removing.
“I know, Miss Packard,” said she, “that you'll miss me more than enough; such a bird is not to be caught on every bough. 'Tisn't everybody that has my knack at thrashing about among the pots and kettles. I'm not the that holds a frying-pan with white gloves on. But I've a notion to see a little more of the world. Miss Bachelor is going out to Roxbury to live, and I'm to try how she suits me a
spell. Howsomever, as I don't want to leave you without nobody, Mr. Tucker, the butcher, says one Lucy Cooledge is in petickelar want of a sitivation, being as how old Miss Amory died two weeks ago, and ain't left her no provision."
On the following morning I had a conversation with Mr. Tucker about Lucy Cooledge. The narration interested me, though I drew the inference that she would not be as dexterous in " thrashing about among the pots and kettles” as her predecessor. She had been adopted in orphan-infancy by Mrs. Amory, and educated as well as her slender means would permit. The tendency of her teaching, it appeared, was to form a religious character, and cultivate great original sensibility in her young charge. For two years, Mrs. Amory had been lingering with a chronic affection, and left Lucy, at the age of seventeen, without a shelter, except from the charity of neighbours.
“It was a crying sight,” said Mr. Tucker, “to see the poor thing the day Mrs. Amory
died, looking around so piteous, as much as to say, 'I have nothing left now! She sat as still as could be, for you know there are folks enough always busy at layings-out, and just watched what they did in a wistful kind of a way. I made a shift to get a neighbour to ride around with the meats for me, first picking out a real tender bit of mutton for some broth for Miss Lucy; and made as good a bargain as I could about the coffin. I happened in again on the afternoon of the burying, and I was scared to see her so quiet. When her name was called out to walk with Deacon Hodges as chief mourner, she just went straight forward, without putting her handkerchief to her eyes, and didn't seem to care to lean on his arm, even. She walked right on to the grave, and gave a look as if she could not look far enough, nor long enough, and then came back-but no crying, not a drop. She went into the sitting-room, where the chairs still stood thick and close, and sat down, and there wasn't one of us that know'd what to say. You know, ma'am, if she
had only took on, we could have comforted her. At last Deacon Hodges' wife went to take off her bonnet, seeing she didn't move, and took hold of her hand. “My gracious, Lucy,' says she, 'your hand is like ice;' and so it was, though it was a warm day, and her cheeks were like ice too; and says she, with a kind of shiver, My heart is ice.' They fell to rubbing her hands, and gave her some wine to drink, and in a half an hour or thereabouts, she fetched a sigh, and large tears rolled down her cheeks; and them as stood by wiped them off, for she seemed not to know that she was a crying. She has come to now pretty much, but has an ugly cough, and I don't like the look of her eyes. Mrs. Amory taught her all kinds of housework, and I've a notion, if she was in a reg'lar family, she would be quite pert again. A man, you see, Miss Packard," continued Mr. Tucker, clearing his throat," can worry through these things, and make shift for a living; but it's hard for young women to push on through thick and thin."
I should have been glad to assist Lucy in a pecuniary way, but to a character like hers independence was the better charity; and as Cinda had fixed on the day for quitting me, Mr. Tucker promised to engage a seat in the Newton stage for her to Boston.
The stage arrived about ten o'clock on the day appointed, and Lucy was the only passenger. It was a great unwieldy vehicle, without glasses, the leathern curtains flapping all around, the worn cushions as slippery as glass, and so little spring in its construction, that Lucy's slight figure was thrown from side to side as the horses, for city display, whisked up to the door.
She was dressed in simple mourning. There was no affectation of better days about her; she entered the kitchen as the scene of her duties with quiet gravity, and went through her work with precision and fidelity, and only on Sunday evenings allowed herself the luxury of reading.
Servants' apartments, in New-England, are