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if you please, and did you ever hear such impudence? The servant in many small establishments is a constant and endless theme of talk. What small wage, sleep, meal, what endless scouring, scolding, tramping on messages fall to that poor Susan's lot; what indignation at the little kindly passing word with the grocer's young man, the pot-boy, the chubby butcher! Where such things will end, my dear Mrs. Toddles, I don't know. What wages they will want next, my dear Mrs. Doddles, &c.
Here, dear ladies, is an advertisement which I cut out of The Times a few days since, expressly for you:
able young woman as HEAD KITCHEN-MAID under a man-cook. She has lived four years under a very good cook and housekeeper. Can make ice, and is an excellent baker. She will only take a place in a very good family, where she can have the opportunity of improving herself, and, if possible, staying for two years. Apply by letter to,” &c. &c.
There, Mrs. Toddles, what do you think of that, and did you ever? Well, no, Mrs. Doddles. Upon my word now, Mrs. T., I don't think I ever did. A respectable young woman head kitchen-maid — under a man-cook, will only take a place in a very good family, where she can improve, and stay two years. Just note up the conditions, Mrs. Toddles, mum, if you please, mum,
and then let us see:
1. This young woman is to be HEAD kitchen-maid, that is to
say there is to be a chorus of kitchen-maids, of which
Y. W. is to be chief. 2. She will only be situated under a man-cook. (A) Ought
he to be a French cook; and (B), if so, would the
lady desire him to be a Protestant? 3. She will only take a place in a very good family. How
old ought the family to be, and what do you call good ? that is the question. How long after the Conquest will do? Would a banker's family do, or is a baronet's good enough? Best say what rank in the peerage would be sufficiently high. But the lady does not say whether she would like a High Church or a Low Church family. Ought there to be unmarried sons, and may they follow a profession? and please say how many daughters; and would the lady like them to be musical? And how many company dinners a week? Not too many, for fear of fatiguing the upper kitchen
maid ; but sufficient, so as to keep the upper kitchenmaid's hand in. [N.B. -I think I can see a rather bewildered expression on the countenances of Mesdames Doddles and Toddles as I am prattling on in this easy
bantering way.] 4. The head kitchen-maid wishes to stay for two years,
and improve herself under the man-cook, and having of course sucked the brains (as the phrase is) from under the chef's nightcap, then the head kitchen-maid wishes to go.
And upon my word, Mrs. Toddles, mum, I will go and fetch the cab for her. The cab? Why not her ladyship’s own carriage and pair, and the head coachman to drive away the head kitchen-maid? You see she stipulates for everything the time to come; the time to stay; the family she will be with ; and as soon as she has improved herself enough, of course the upper kitchen-maid will step into the carriage and drive off.
Well, upon my word and conscience, if things are coming to this pass, Mrs. Toddles and Mrs. Doddles, mum, I think I will go up stairs and get a basin and a sponge, and then down stairs and get some hot water; and then I will go and scrub that chalk-mark off my own door with my own hands.
It is wiped off, I declare ! After ever so many weeks ! Who has done it? It was just a little round-about mark, you know, and it was there for days and weeks, before I ever thought it would be the text of a Roundabout Paper.
ON BEING FOUND OUT.
At the close (let us say) of Queen Anne's reign, when I was a boy at a private and preparatory school for young gentlemen, I remember the wiseacre of a master ordering us all, one night, to march into a little garden at the back of the house, and thence to proceed one by one into a tool or hen house, (I was but a tender little thing just put into short clothes, and can't exactly say whether the house was for tools or hens,) and in that house to put our hands into a sack which stood on a bench, a candle burning beside it. I put my hand into the
sack. My hand came out quite black. I went and joined the other boys in the schoolroom; and all their hands were black too.
By reason of my tender age (and there are some critics who, I hope, will be satisfied by my acknowledging that I am a hundred and fifty-six next birthday) I could not understand what was the meaning of this night excursion this candle, this tool-house, this bag of soot. I think we little boys were taken out of our sleep to be brought to the ordeal. We came, then, and showed our little hands to the master; washed them or not
most probably, I should say, not and so went bewildered back to bed.
Something had been stolen in the school that day; and Mr. Wiseacre having read in a book of an ingenious method of finding out a thief by making him put his hand into a sack (which, if guilty, the rogue would shirk from doing), all we boys were subjected to the trial. Goodness knows what the lost object was, or who stole it. We all had black hands to show the master. And the thief, whoever he was, was not Found Out that time.
I wonder if the rascal is alive — an elderly scoundrel he must be by this time; and a hoary old hypocrite, to whom an old schoolfellow presents his kindest regards - parenthetically remarking what a dreadful place that private school was; cold, chilblains, bad dinners, not enough victuals, and caning awful !
- Are you alive still, I say, you nameless villain, who escaped discovery on that day of crime? I hope you have escaped often since, old sinner. Ah, what a lucky thing it is, for you and me, my man, that we are not found out in all our peccadilloes; and that our backs can slip away from the master and the cane !
Just consider what life would be, if every rogue was found out, and flogged coram populo! What a butchery, what an indecency, what an endless swishing of the rod! Don't about my misanthropy. My good friend Mealymouth, I will trouble
you to tell me, do you go to church? When there, do you say, or do you not, that you are a miserable sinner? and saying so do you believe or disbelieve it? If you are a M. S., don't
you deserve correction, and aren't you grateful if you are to be let off? I say again, what a blessed thing it is that we are not all found out!
Just picture to yourself everybody who does wrong being found out, and punished accordingly. Fancy all the boys in all the school being whipped ; and then the assistants, and then
the head master (Dr. Badford let us call him). Fancy the provost-marshal being tied up, having previously superintended the correction of the whole army. After the young gentlemen have had their turn for the faulty exercises, fancy Dr. Lincolnsinn being taken up for certain faults in his Essay and Review. After the clergyman has cried his peccavi, suppose we hoist up a bishop, and give him a couple of dozen! (I see my Lord Bishop of Double-Gloucester sitting in a very uneasy posture on his right reverend bench.) After we have cast off the bishop, what are we to say to the Minister who appointed him ? My Lord Cinqwarden, it is painful to have to use personal correction to a boy of your age ; but really Siste tandem, carnifex! The butchery is too horrible. The hand drops powerless, appalled at the quantity of birch which it must cut and brandish. I am glad we are not all found out, I say again ; and protest, my dear brethren, against our having our deserts.
To fancy all men found out and punished is bad enough ; but imagine all women found out in the distinguished social circle in which you and I have the honor to move. Is it not a mercy that a many of these fair criminals remain unpunished and undiscovered! There is Mrs. Longbow, who is for ever practising, and who shoots poisoned arrows, too; when you meet her you don't call her liar, and charge her with the wickedness she has done and is doing. There is Mrs. Painter, who passes for a most respectable woman, and a model in society. There is no use in saying what you really know regarding her and her goings on. There is Diana Hunter — what a little haughty prude it is; and yet we know stories about her which are not altogether edifying. I say it is best, for the sake of the good, that the bad should not all be found out. You don't want your children to know the history of that lady in the next box, who is so handsome, and whom they admire so. what would life be if we were all found out, and punished for all our faults? Jack Ketch would be in permanence; and then who would hang Jack Ketch ?
They talk of murderers being pretty certainly found out. Psha! I have heard an authority awfully competent vow and declare that scores and hundreds of murders are committed, and nobody is the wiser. That terrible man mentioned one or two ways of committing murder, which he maintained were quite common, and were scarcely ever found out. A man, for instance, comes home to his wife, and ... but I pause - I know that this Magazine has a very large circulation. Hun
dreds and hundreds of thousands — why not say a million of people at once? — well, say a million, read it. And amongst these countless readers, I might be teaching some monster how to make away with his wife without being found out, some fiend of a woman how to destroy her dear husband. I will not then tell this easy and simple way of murder, as communicated to me by a most respectable party in the confidence of private intercourse. Suppose some gentle reader were to try this most simple and easy receipt it seems to me almost infallible — and come to grief in consequence, and be found out and hanged? Should I ever pardon myself for having been the means of doing injury to a single one of our esteemed subscribers? The prescription whereof I speak — that is to say, whereof I don't speak — shall be buried in this bosom. No, I am a humane man.
I am not one of your Bluebeards to go and say to my wife, “ My dear! I am going away for a few days to Brighton. Here are all the keys of the house. You may open every door and closets except the one at the end of the oak-room opposite the fireplace, with the little bronze Shakespeare on the mantel-piece (or what not)." I don't say this to a woman — unless, to be sure, I want to get rid of her because, after such a caution, I know she'll peep into the closet. I say nothing about the closet at all. I keep the key in my pocket, and a being whom I love, but who, as I know, has many weaknesses, out of harm's way. You toss up your head, dear angel, drub on the ground with your lovely little feet, on the table with your sweet rosy fingers, and cry, “Oh, sneerer! You don't know the depth of woman's feeling, the lofty scorn of all deceit, the entire absence of mean curiosity in the sex, or never, never would you libel us so !” Ah, Delia ! dear, dear Delia ! It is because I fancy I do know something about you (not all, mind - no, no; no man knows that) — Ah, my bride, my ringdove, my rose, my poppet – choose, in fact, whatever name you like — bulbul of my grove, fountain of my desert, sunshine of my darkling life, and joy of my dungeoned existence, it is because I do know a little about you that I conclude to say nothing of that private closet, and keep my key in my pocket. You take away that closet-key then, and the house-key. You lock Delia in. You keep her out of harm's way and gadding, and so she never can be found out.
And yet by little strange accidents and coincidents how we are being found out every day. You remember that old story of the Abbé Kakatoes, who told the company at supper one night how the first confession he ever received was