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Mr. Bradley’s Jewel
by [?]

Thaddeus was tired, and, therefore, Thaddeus was grumpy. One premise only was necessary for the conclusion–in fact, it was the only premise upon which a conclusion involving Thaddeus’s grumpiness could find a foothold. If Thaddeus felt rested, everything in the world could go wrong and he would smile as sweetly as ever; but with the slightest trace of weariness in his system the smile would fade, wrinkles would gather on his forehead, and grumpiness set in whether things were right or wrong. On this special occasion to which I refer, things were just wrong enough to give him a decent excuse– outside of his weariness–for his irritation. Norah, the housemaid, had officiously undertaken to cover up the shortcomings of John, who should have blacked Thaddeus’s boots, and who had taken his day off without preparing the extra pair which the lord of the manor had expected to wear that evening. It was nice of the housemaid, of course, to try to black the extra pair to keep John out of trouble, but she might have been more discriminating. It was not necessary for her to polish, until they shone like Claude Lorraine glasses, two right boots, one of which, paradoxical as it may seem, was consequently the wrong boot; so that when Thaddeus came to dress for the evening’s diversion there was nowhere to be found in his shoe- box a bit of leathern gear in which his left foot might appear in polite society to advantage. Possibly Thaddeus might have endured the pain of a right boot on a left foot, had not Norah unfortunately chosen for that member a box-toed boot, while for the right she had selected one with a very decided acute angle at its toe-end.

“Just like a woman!” ejaculated Thaddeus, angrily.

“Yes,” returned Bessie, missing Thaddeus’s point slightly. “It was very thoughtful of Norah to look after John’s work, knowing how important it was to you.”

Fortunately Thaddeus was out of breath trying to shine up the other pointed-toe shoe, so that his only reply to this was a look, which Bessie, absorbed as she was in putting the studs in Thaddeus’s shirt, did not see. If she had seen it, I doubt if she would have been so entirely happy as the tender little song she was humming softly to herself seemed to indicate that she was.

“Some people are born lucky!” growled Thaddeus, as he finished rubbing up the left boot, giving it a satin finish which hardly matched the luminous brilliance of its mate, though he said it would do. “There’s Bradley, now; he never has any domestic woes of this sort, and he pays just half what we do for his servants.”

“Oh, Mr. Bradley. I don’t like him!” ejaculated Bessie. “You are always talking about Mr. Bradley, as if he had an automaton for a servant.”

“No, I don’t say he has an automaton,” returned Thaddeus. “Automatons don’t often work, and Bradley’s jewel does. Her name is Mary, but Bradley always calls her his jewel.”

“I’ve heard of jewels,” said Bessie, thinking of the two Thaddeus and she had begun their married life with, “but they’ve always seemed to me to be paste emeralds–awfully green, and not worth much.”

“There’s no paste emerald about Bradley’s girl,” said Thaddeus. “Why, he says that woman has been in Mrs. Bradley’s employ for seven weeks now, and she hasn’t broken a bit of china; never sweeps dust under the beds or bureaus; keeps the silver polished so that it looks as if it were solid; gets up at six every morning; cooks well; is civil, sober, industrious; has no hangers-on–“

“Is Mr. Bradley a realist or a romancer?” asked Bessie.

“Why do you ask that?” replied Thaddeus.

“That jewel story sounds like an Arabian Nights tale,” said Bessie. “I don’t believe that it is more than half true, and that half is exaggerated.”