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Trouble With Servants
by [?]

“OH, dear Mrs. Graham!” said my neighbour Mrs. Jones to me one day, “what shall I do for good help? I am almost worried out of my senses. I wish somebody would invent a machine to cook, wash, scrub, and do housework in general. What a blessing it would be! As for the whole tribe of flesh and blood domestics, they are not worth their salt.”

“They are all poorly educated,” I replied, “and we cannot expect much of them. Most of them have nearly every thing to learn when they come into our houses, and are bad scholars into the bargain. But we must have patience. I find it my only resource.”

“Patience!” ejaculated Mrs. Jones, warmly. It would require more patience than Job ever possessed to get along with some of them.”

“And yet,” said I, “we accomplish little or nothing by impatience. At least such is my experience.”

“I don’t know, ma’am,” replied Mrs. Jones. “If you go to being gentle and easy with them, if you don’t follow them up at every point, you will soon have affairs in a pretty condition! They don’t care a fig for your comfort nor interest–not they! In fact, more than half of them would, a thousand times, rather make things disagreeable for you than otherwise.”

“I know they are a great trial, sometimes,” I answered, not feeling at liberty to say to my (sic) visiter all I thought. “But we must endeavour to bear it the best we can. That is my rule; and I find, in the long run, that I get on much better when I repress all exhibition of annoyance at their carelessness, short-comings, neglect, or positive misdeeds, than I do when I let them see that I am annoyed, or exhibit the slightest angry feeling.”

Not long after this, we accepted an invitation to take tea with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and I then had an opportunity of seeing how she conducted herself towards her domestics. I was in no way surprised, afterwards, that she found difficulty in getting along with servants.

Soon after my husband and myself went in, and while we were sitting in the parlour, Mrs. Jones had occasion to call a servant. I noticed that, when she rung the bell, she did so with a quick jerk; and I could perceive a tone of authority in the ting-a-ling of the bell, the sound of which was distinctly heard. Nearly two minutes passed before the servant made her appearance, in which time the bell received a more vigorous jerk. At last she entered, looking flushed and hurried.

“What’s the reason you did not come when I first rung?” inquired our lady hostess, in a severe tone.

“I–I–came as quick as I could,” replied the girl, with a look of mortification at being spoken to before strangers.

“No, you didn’t! It’s your custom to wait until I ring twice. Now let this be the last time!”

And then, in a low voice, Mrs. Jones gave the direction for which she had summoned her.

“Such a set!” ejaculated the lady, as the girl left the room. Her words were intended to reach other ears besides ours; and so they did. “That girl,” she continued, addressing me, “has a habit of making me ring twice. It really seems to give them pleasure, I believe, to annoy you. Ah, me! this trouble with servants is a never ending one. It meets you at every turn.”

And, for some time, she animadverted upon her favourite theme–for such it appeared to be,–until her husband, who was evidently annoyed, managed to change the subject of discourse. Once or twice she came back to it before tea-time.

At last the tea bell rung, and we ascended to the dining-room. We were but fairly seated, when a frown darkened suddenly on the brow of our hostess, and her hand applied itself nervously to the table-bell.