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A Little Matter Of Real Estate
by [?]

“Now, my dear little girls,” said she, “this quarrelling must stop. I want you to kiss each other as cousins should.”

This suggestion was a distinct failure. Eva and Sadie, with much fluttering of aprons and waving of curls, sought opposite corners of the schoolroom, while up started Sarah Schrodsky with: “Teacher, they couldn’t to make no kissing. They’re mad on theirselves ’cause their mammas has a mad. Sadie’s mamma says like this on Eva’s mamma, ‘Don’t you dast to talk to me–you lives by the fifth floor und your man is a robber.’ Und Eva’s mamma says–“

When Teacher had managed to silence Sarah she led the weeping Gonorowskys back to their places and the scholastic world wagged on in outward tranquillity.

Hostilities were temporarily suspended some days later owing to the illness of Sadie, by far the more aggressive of the opposing parties. Eva led a placid life for three peaceful days, and then–as by law prescribed and postal card invited–Sadie’s mother came to explain her daughter’s absence. Large of person, bland of manner, in a heavy black shawl and a heavier black wig, Mrs. Lazarus Gonorowsky stood beaming and bobbing in the hall.

“I likes I should Sadie Gonorowsky’s teacher see,” she began, in the peculiar English of the adult population of the East Side. Mrs. Gonorowsky could neither use nor understand her young daughter’s copious invective. Upon being assured that the diminutive form before her was indeed clothed with authority, she announced:

“Comes a letter I should by the school come. I was Sadie’s mamma.” Here she drew from the inner recesses of the black shawl a bundle which, being placed in a perpendicular position, proved to be the most recent addition to the Gonorowsky household. She smoothed it with a work-worn but tender hand, and repeated in a saddened voice: “Yes, ma’am, I was her mamma und she lays now on the bed.”

The increasing sadness of Mrs. Gonorowsky’s announcement and its sinister phraseology startled Teacher. “Not dead!” she cried. “Oh, surely not dead!”

“Sure not,” was the indignant response. “She’s got such a sickness she must lay on the bed, und comes the doctor. Sadie’s papa holds much on that child, Miss Teacher, und all times he has a worry over her. Me too. She comes by the school tomorrow maybe, und I ask you by a favour you should do me the kindness to look on her. So she feel again sick she should better on the house come. She say, ‘Oh, mamma, I got a lovely teacher; I likes to look on her the while she has such a light face.'”

Having thus diplomatically led up to a question, Mrs. Gonorowsky with great suavity asked, “Sadie is a good girl, hein?”

“Oh, yes, indeed.”

“She is shmardt, hein? She don’t make you no troubles?”

“Well,” Miss Bailey answered, “she has rather bothered me lately by quarrelling with her little cousin, Eva.”

“So-o-oh!” exclaimed Sadie’s parent ponderously. “So-o-oh, Eva Gonorowsky makes you troubles; she is a bad girl–I tell Sadie–Sadie is a good girl–I tell her she should make nothings with Eva soch a bad girl. For what you not put her back by baby class? She is not shmardt.”

“Oh, but she is; she is a bright little thing,” cried Teacher. “I couldn’t think of putting her back. She’s a dear little girl and I can’t imagine why Sadie quarrels with her.”

Mrs. Gonorowsky drew her ample form to a wonderful erectness, readjusted her shawl, and answered with much stateliness:

“It was a trouble from off of real estate.” With dignity and blandness she proceeded to kiss Teacher’s hand, and signified entire willingness to entrust her precious Sadie to the care of so estimable a young person, inquired solicitously if the work were not too much for so small a lady, and cautioned the young person against rainy mornings. Had she a mackintosh? Mr. Gonorowsky was selling them off that week. Were her imperceptibles sufficiently warm? Mr. Gonorowsky, by a strange chance, was absolutely giving away “fine all from wool” imperceptibles, and the store was near. Mrs. Gonorowsky then withdrew, leaving a kindly sentiment in Teacher’s heart and an atmosphere of ironing-boards and onions in the hall. On the following morning Sadie returned to her “light-faced” teacher, and for one whole day hostilities were suspended.