Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/118

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poetical works, that I have decided, for a short time, to put in practice my ideal method of housekeeping.

Mrs. Mervin. Can you make bread, and do up shirts?

Angelina. Yes: I can insert the rising element in a liquid form into the snowy flour; or I can use those subtile powders that permeate the mass of doughy particles, and make them rise in comely proportions.

Emma. Indeed! but how about the shirts? Angelina. Well, after bringing them in from their bath in the sunlight, I immerse them in starch of pearly whiteness, and after sufficient time has elapsed I press to their bosoms a hot iron. I am reminded by this that only through fiery trials we can be made to shine with becoming lustre ourselves.

Mrs. Mervin. I think you will have to find some other place in which to practise your fine ideas of housework. You soar quite too high for us.

Angelina. Adieu; this weary birdling seeks another nest.

[Exit Angelina.

Emma. O, mother! I thought I should burst out laughing in her face. She is an escaped lunatic, I do believe.

Mrs. Mervin. I should think she was. (Bell rings.) There's another ; this time an artist, perhaps. I'll go straight to the office, and have that advertisement taken out.

Enter Mary.

Mary. Is this Mrs. Mervin who advertised for a girl?

Mrs. Mervin. Yes, I am the lady. Do you know of any good girl?

Mary. I would like to get a place myself. I have worked in a shop since I left my home in the country, three years ago; but I find the confinement doesn't agree with me, and I had rather do housework.

Mrs. Mervin. You understand it, then, I suppose.

Mary. Oh, yes! I am next to the oldest in a family of nine children, and my mother commenced teaching me to do housework almost as soon as I could go alone. As soon as the sister next me could take my place, I left home to see if I could earn something to help along. A man like my father, with a small farm and a large family of children, finds it rather hard to get along sometimes.

Mrs. Mervin. Yes, he must find it hard to feed and clothe so many, with so little ready money as farmers generally