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The Minister’s Housekeeper
by [?]

“‘Poor man,’ says Mis’ Pipperidge, ‘what can that child that he’s got there do towards takin’ the care of all that place? It takes a mature woman,’ she says, ‘to tread in Mis’ Carryl’s shoes.’

“‘That it does,’ said Mis’ Blodgett; and, when things once get to runnin’ down hill, there ain’t no stoppin’ on ’em,’ says she.

“Then Mis’ Sawin she took it up. (Ye see, Mis’ Sawin used to go out to dress-makin’, and was sort o’ ‘jealous, ’cause folks sot more by Huldy than they did by her). ‘Well,’ says she, ‘Huldy Peters is well enough at her trade. I never denied that, though I do say I never did believe in her way o’ makin’ button-holes; and I must say, if ’twas the dearest friend I hed, that I thought Huldy tryin’ to fit Mis’ Kit-tridge’s plumb-colored silk was a clear piece o’ presumption; the silk was jist spiled, so ‘twarn’t fit to come into the meetin’-house. I must say, Huldy’s a gal that’s always too ventersome about takin’ ‘spon-sibilities she don’t know nothin’ about.’

“‘Of course she don’t,’ said Mis’ Deakin Blodgett. ‘What does she know about all the lookin’ and see-in’ to that there ought to be in guidin’ the minister’s house. Huldy’s well meanin’, and she’s good at her work, and good in the singers’ seat; but Lordy massy! she hain’t got no experience. Parson Carryl ought to have an experienced woman to keep house for him. There’s the spring house-cleanin’ and the fall house-cleanin’ to be seen to, and the things to be put away from the moths; and then the gettin’ ready for the association and all the ministers’ meetin’s; and the makin’ the soap and the candles, and settin’ the hens and turkeys, watchin’ the calves, and seein’ after the hired men and the garden; and there that ‘are blessed man jist sets there at home as serene, and has nobody ’round but that ‘are gal, and don’t even know how things must be a runnin’ to waste!’

“Wal, the upshot on’t was, they fussed and fuzzled and wuzzled till they’d drinked up all the tea in the teapot; and then they went down and called on the parson, and wuzzled him all up talkin’ about this, that, and t’other that wanted lookin’ to, and that it was no way to leave every thing to a young chit like Huldy, and that he ought to be lookin’ about for an experienced woman. The parson he thanked ’em kindly, and said he believed their motives was good, but he didn’t go no further. He didn’t ask Mis’ Pipperidge to come and stay there and help him, nor nothin’ o’ that kind; but he said he’d attend to matters himself. The fact was, the parson had got such a likin’ for havin’ Huldy ’round, that he couldn’t think o’ such a thing as swappin’ her off for the Widder Pipperidge.

“But he thought to himself, ‘Huldy is a good girl; but I oughtn’t to be a leavin’ every thing to her,–it’s too hard on her. I ought to be instructin’ and guidin’ and helpin’ of her; ’cause ’tain’t everybody could be expected to know and do what Mis’ Carryl did;’ and so at it he went; and Lordy massy! didn’t Huldy hev a time on’t when the minister began to come out of his study, and want to tew ’round and see to things? Huldy, you see, thought all the world of the minister, and she was ‘most afraid to laugh; but she told me she couldn’t, for the life of her, help it when his back was turned, for he wuzzled things up in the most singular way. But Huldy she’d jest say ‘Yes, sir,’ and get him off into his study, and go on her own way.

“‘Huldy,’ says the minister one day, ‘you ain’t experienced out doors; and, when you want to know any thing, you must come to me.’