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Mrs. A. And Mrs. B.; or, What She Thinks About It
by [?]

Mrs. A. and Mrs. B. were next-door neighbors and intimate friends–that is to say, they took tea with each other very often, and, in confidential strains, discoursed of stockings and pocket handkerchiefs, of puddings and carpets, of cookery and domestic economy, through all its branches.

“I think, on the whole,” said Mrs. A., with an air of profound reflection, “that gingerbread is the cheapest and healthiest cake one can make. I make a good deal of it, and let my children have as much as they want of it.”

“I used to do so,” said Mrs. B., “but I haven’t had any made these two months.”

“Ah! Why not?” said Mrs. A.

“Why, it is some trouble; and then, though it is cheap, it is cheaper not to have any; and, on the whole, the children are quite as well contented without it, and so we are fallen into the way of not having any.”

“But one must keep some kind of cake in the house,” said Mrs. A.

“So I have always heard, and thought, and practised,” said Mrs. B.; “but really of late I have questioned the need of it.”

The conversation gradually digressed from this point into various intricate speculations on domestic economy, and at last each lady went home to put her children to bed.

A fortnight after, the two ladies were again in conclave at Mrs. B.’s tea table, which was graced by some unusually nice gingerbread.

“I thought you had given up making gingerbread,” said Mrs. A.; “you told me so a fortnight ago at my house.”

“So I had,” said Mrs. A.; “but since that conversation I have been making it again.”

“Why so?”

“O, I thought that since you thought it economical enough, certainly I might; and that if you thought it necessary to keep some sort of cake in the closet, perhaps it was best I should.”

Mrs. A. laughed.

“Well, now,” said she, “I have not made any gingerbread, or cake of any kind, since that same conversation.”


“No. I said to myself, If Mrs. B. thinks it will do to go without cake in the house, I suppose I might, as she says it is some additional expense and trouble; and so I gave it up.”

Both ladies laughed, and you laugh, too, my dear lady reader; but have you never done the same thing? Have you never altered your dress, or your arrangements, or your housekeeping because somebody else was of a different way of thinking or managing–and may not that very somebody at the same time have been moved to make some change through a similar observation on you?

A large party is to be given by the young lads of N. to the young lassies of the same place; they are to drive out together to a picnic in the woods, and to come home by moonlight; the weather is damp and uncertain, the ground chill, and young people, as in all ages before the flood and since, not famous for the grace of prudence; for all which reasons, almost every mamma hesitates about her daughters’ going–thinks it a very great pity the thing has been started.

“I really don’t like this thing,” says Mrs. G.; “it’s not a kind of thing that I approve of, and if Mrs. X. was not going to let her daughters go, I should set myself against it. How Mrs. X., who is so very nice in her notions, can sanction such a thing, I cannot see. I am really surprised at Mrs. X.”

All this time, poor unconscious Mrs. X. is in a similar tribulation.

“This is a very disagreeable affair to me,” she says. “I really have almost a mind to say that my girls shall not go; but Mrs. G.’s daughters are going, and Mrs. C.’s, and Mrs. W.’s, and of course it would be idle for me to oppose it. I should not like to cast any reflections on a course sanctioned by ladies of such prudence and discretion.”