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Much Ado About Nothing; Or, The Reason Why Mrs. Todd Didn’t Speak To Mrs. Jones
by [?]

“I have not your firmness. I wish I had. It was only yesterday that I crossed the street to keep from meeting her face to face.”

“You were wrong.”

“I can’t help it; it is my weakness. Three times already have I put myself about to avoid her; and if I could frame any good excuse for staying away from this party, I certainly should do so. I would give any thing for a good sick-headache on Tuesday next.”

“I am really ashamed of you, Ellen. I thought you more of a woman,” said Mr. Jones.

The night of the party at length came round. During the whole day preceding it, Mrs. Jones could think of nothing but the unpleasant feelings she would have upon meeting with Mrs. Todd, and her “heart was in her mouth” all the time. She wished a dozen times that it would rain. But her wishes availed nothing; not a cloud was to be seen in the clear blue firmament from morning until evening.

“Oh, if I only had some good excuse for staying at home!” she said over and over again; but no good excuse offered.

Mr. Jones saw that his wife was in a very unhappy state of mind, and tried his best to cheer her, but with little good effect.

“It is no use to talk to me, I can’t help it,” she replied to his remonstrance, in a husky voice. “I am neither a stock nor a stone.”

“There’s Mrs. Jones,” said one friend to another, on seeing the lady they named enter Mrs.–‘s well-filled parlours.

“Where is Mrs. Todd?” asked the lady addressed.

“Sure enough! where is she?” replied the other. “Oh, there she is, in the other room. I wonder why it is that she does not speak to Mrs. Jones.”

“No one knows.”

“It’s very strange.”

“I’ll tell you what I’ve heard.”


“That she’s jealous of Mrs. Jones.”


“Isn’t it.”

“I don’t believe a word of it.”

“Nor I. I only told you what I had heard.”

“There must be some other reason.”

“And doubtless is.”

Meantime, Mrs. Jones found a seat in a corner, where she ensconced herself, with the determination of keeping her place during the evening, that she might avoid the unpleasantness of coming in contact with Mrs. Todd. All this was, of course, very weak in Mrs. Jones. But she had no independent strength of character, it must be owned.

“Poor Mrs. Jones! How cut down she looks,” remarked a lady who knew all about the trouble that existed. “I really feel sorry for her.”

“She takes it a great deal too much to heart,” was the reply. “Mrs. Todd might refuse to speak to me a dozen times, if she liked. It wouldn’t break my heart. But where is she?”

“In the other room, as gay and lively as ever I saw her. See, there she is.”

“Yes, I see her. Hark! You can hear her laugh to here. I must confess I don’t like it. I don’t believe she has any heart. She must know that Mrs. Jones is hurt at what she has done.”

“Of course she does, and her manner is meant to insult her.”

Seeing the disturbed and depressed state of Mrs. Jones’s mind, two or three of her friends held a consultation on the subject, and finally agreed that they would ask Mrs. Todd, who seemed purposely to avoid Mrs. Jones, why she acted towards her as she did. But before they could find an opportunity of so doing, a messenger came to say that one of Mrs. Todd’s children had been taken suddenly ill. The lady withdrew immediately.

Mrs. Jones, breathed more freely on learning that Mrs. Todd had gone home. Soon after, she emerged from her place in the corner, and mingled with the company during the rest of the evening.

Mrs. Todd, on arriving at home, found one of her children quite sick; but it proved to be nothing serious. On the following morning, the little fellow was quite well again.

On that same morning, three ladies, personal friends of Mrs. Todd, met by appointment, and entered into grave consultation. They had undertaken to find out the cause of offence that had occurred, of so serious a character as to lead Mrs. Todd to adopt so rigid a course towards Mrs. Jones, and, if possible, to reconcile matters.