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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by
HARPER & Brothers,
In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.
Tappan Prest. Qua
"WHAT ails you, my dear?" inquired Robert Barclay of his wife, as she sat thoughtfully, twirling her tea-cup. "You seem, of late, very uninterested in my conversation. Has any thing gone wrong with you to-day?”
"No, nothing in particular to-day!" she replied, with an emphasis. "I have been thinking the same thing over and over again for some weeks; and is not that about as long as you have noticed my abstracted manner?”
"Well, well, do let us know what the secret is," said the half-irritated husband; "for this playing upon words, and inquiries about this and that state of mind, is poor business for man and wife; and, for mercy's sake, do let us abandon it now and forever. So tell me, Hepsy, at once, what you are brooding over."
"Well, then, if you would know all (and you may as well, I suppose)," said the troubled wife and mother, "it was about a month ago I was dreadfully vexed with my cook and chamber-maid. You know when Polly and Sally had that 'flare up'-you remember Miss Jones was staying with us; and, as we sat descanting upon the trials of housekeeping, she said to me that she wondered I had half the patience I have; and were I in your cap,' said she, 'I never would suffer such annoyances; for half what it costs you now you might board out, and rid yourself of such troublesome scenes as those you have been over to-day. I know ladies,' she said, 'who never pretend to rule their husbands-only in this matter of housekeeping, and there they protest they will reign; and as we live but one life,' said Miss Jones, 'I am for making people as comfortable as I can while we stay here.' Now, husband, I confess this did put a new wrinkle in my head, as old grand-mother Lawrence used to say when a new idea struck her. I have thought the
matter over and over since then, as I just remarked, and I must say I am much disposed to try the experiment. What say you? Come, speak just as you think, for I have been frank with you, husband."
"Oh dear!" sighed out Mr. Barclay, “I am sorry such a whim has got in your head, for I see the result of it from beginning to end. Now, I suppose, not a thing will take a crooked direction in kitchen, parlor, or nursery, but boarding out will be the panacea. Why, just look at things as they are, wife, and I think I can convince you that I am as good a reasoner as Fanny Jones, your adviser."
"Don't reflect on her, husband; she would die if she thought you supposed a silly whim was put in my head by her; besides, she is not the only person of that mind. Do see Mrs. Bond, with her four children, at board: there she sits, with every attention; nothing to do unless she chooses, never troubled about servants, and always in full dress to see any one who calls, while I am a mere drudge. If I ring a
bell, ten chances to one the girl is on the shed, or cleaning the knives in the cellar; and yet there are the wages, amounting to three dollars a week, exclusive of board. Were I to urge nothing but motives of economy, Mr. Barclay, it seems to me the change must meet your wishes."
"Economy!" retorted Mr. Barclay; "that is a good word, but it must be applied to good uses, wife. You talk very foolishly, let me tell you. When one boards, who takes care of the children? who pays for the little attentions you receive? who does the washing, and ironing, and cooking?"
Why, the landlord or landlady sees to getting it done, to be sure; I have no care if I board," still reasoned Mrs. Barclay.
"But I pay the bills, my dear. How much do you suppose the Mr. Bond you just quoted pays for himself, wife, four children, and nurs ery-woman?"
Why, really, husband, I don't know; perhaps-it may be something like-fifteen dollars a week."