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A Christmas Story Man in His Element: or, A New Way to Keep House   By: (1835-1886)

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[Transcriber's note: Irregularities in punctuation which were present in the original have been corrected. Variants such as would'nt/wouldn't, could'nt/couldn't, was'nt/wasn't, have been retained.]

A

CHRISTMAS STORY,

BY

DR. SAMUEL W. FRANCIS.

PUBLISHED BY GEORGE H. MATHEWS, 929 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.

1867.

A CHRISTMAS STORY.

MAN IN HIS ELEMENT: OR, A NEW WAY TO KEEP HOUSE.

BY DR. SAMUEL W. FRANCIS.

PART I.

A WOMAN'S PLAN.

'My dear Mary,' said I, one morning, to my widowed sister, as she sank into an arm chair in front of my library fire, and heaved a sigh replete with exhaustion and sadness:

'What is the matter?'

'Enough for a woman, William, but of course, nothing for an old bachelor like you, who have only to pay your own bills, eat your meals without the trouble of ordering them; lounge through a clean house with no chasing after servants to sweep and wash and dust; sit in your study, heaping log after log on your devoted andirons, and always meeting me with such a provoking cheerfulness, while I have not a moment to myself; am all the time running to give out stores to one girl; soap and starch to another; candles and linen to the chambermaid, and orders to the coachman; and, even then, I have no peace; for, no sooner do I sit in the nursery, hoping to derive a few minutes comfort from a quiet sew, than my ears are filled with the dissatisfaction of one girl; the complaints of another; the threatenings to leave of another, and the quarrels of all. I declare, William, I think it was too bad in you to insist on our leaving that comfortable boarding house, where we lived so much cheaper, and had no trouble. It was there, with my small family, that I appreciated the freedom from care that you old selfish, unsympathizing bachelors enjoy; and no wonder you laugh at us. The fact is, you don't know anything about it; you '

'My dear Mary,' I repeated, 'you have said enough I only ask for a few minutes to put this matter in a new light, and, in time, you yourself will be convinced.'

'That's all very well, William, but what's the use of talking to you men. I never convinced one in my life. No sir! man is an animal that never acknowledges either that he is wrong, or that a woman is right. I tell you, servants are the bane of my existence. You cannot make them happy, do what you may. Why, only the other day I gave Jane a nice pair of gaiters that I had but partially worn out. She thanked me, and I felt pleased that I had done one kind action, though it was a self denial. The very next morning, in coming out of the kitchen, I passed the ash barrel, and looked in it to see if the cinders would ever be sifted. What do you suppose I saw there, mixed up with lemon peel, tea leaves and ashes? My boots, William the very pair I had given Jane the day before.'

'Well what did you do?'

'Do? Why as soon as I could recover I called her to me, and asked why she had thrown them there.' She said without any excitement, that was the worst of it, 'I couldn't wear them Madam.'

'Why not?' I said.

'They were too large for me.'

'Too large for her, the jade think of that'

'Don't say any more, Mary, I understand the case perfectly and since we cannot argue upon the matter just listen to my views (without any interruption), in the form of a philosophical lecture. It will be very brief but to the point.

'Though I have never kept house, as I am an old man I must have lived somewhere all my life. Being possessed of a healthy and observing intellect I have seen and digested much; and it is all easy to my mind... Continue reading book >>




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