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F R A NK M O R T TME It ,
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ijc gjionnmnu (Junius.
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MY FIRST YEAR OF HOUSEKEEPING.
BY MRS. II. C. GARDINER.
r' is no fiction that I sit down to my desk
to chvoniclo this evening. As I look
hack through the long vista of years, and
review the early days of my married life,
its perplexities and cares come upheforcme
in far more vivid coloi s than its joys ; though
the retrospect often i provokes a laugh where
the real experience caused hitter tears.
I was just twenty years old when I lie
came the wiTo of a clergyman, a poor coun
try pastor. It was a love-match, and with
the thriftlcssncss of lovers, I think it did not
then occur to us that we could not live upon
love, or that it would need such vulgar ap
pliances as roast heef and palatablo pud
dings to preserve, in its purify, tho divine
essence of the grand passion.
Everybody said that I was totally unfit
for a minister's wife. I was, naturally, ex
ceedingly joyous and mirthful, and without
a particlo of the staid dignity expected
from persons in my position ; whilo my
husband was a grave, thoughtful man, en
dowed, by nature, with a commanding ap
pearance and prepossessing manners. I do
not wonder now that pcoplo could not see
the propriety of his choosing mo for his
wife, when so many pattern women stood
ready to accept him. My own family had
but one objection to the match ; ho was
poor and I had no idea of practical house
keeping. Ah ! how well T remember tho first wash
ing day ! My husband, after vainly trying
to pcrsuado me to employ u wash-woman (I
knew ho could not afford it,) came into the
back kitchen to help mo himself. We were
very merry at first ; but after rubbing- oiT
little patches of skin from every knuckle,
and burning our arms till they looked like
illustrated maps of some unknown country,
we began to find out that there was little
poetry, and no fun, in the wash tub.
But tho ironing day was worse yet
Nothing but pride kept me from rolling
those starched shirts into a bundle and tak
ing them across tho fields to my mother's
kiUhen. I forgot to mention that wo had
taken up our abodo in a parish but one mile
distant from my father's house.
I had never ironed any starched clothes
of any description ; but from my brothers
at home I had imbibed very exalted ideas
in regard to tho importance of immaculate
shirt bosoms. My husband told mo all that
ho could rememl)er of his mother's method
and then betook himself to his study. Shall
I ever forget my feelings when the ilat-iron
heated seven times hotter than its wont,
and carefully appliod to tho glutinous sur
face, suddonly struck up an attachment for
tho same, and, whon forcibly separated, left
its whole image and superscription behind
AN INDEPENDENT FAMILY
in black and brown colors. I havo that
shirt now. 1 keep it to show to those wiso
mothers who are training their daughters
for future usclcssucss.
But it was in cooking that I found my
chief trouble. All my attempts in that
line, at the time 1 commenced housekeep
ing, had resulted in spoiling several kinds
of rich cake concocted in accordance with
those recipes which fill our modern cookery
books. I had never made a loaf of bread
in my life. Baker's bread served us for a
time for so long a t ime, indeed, that we
found out all its good qualities, and have
not tested its excellencies for many years.
We had been married and settled nearly
a fortnight, when, one morning my hus
band came in with a letter in his hand, and
a very anxious expression on his face. I
sprang up from my seat nearly upsetting
tho breakfast tabic, which was waiting for
" What is tho matter, Frank ? Is any
body sick or dead? Have you got bad
"No. At least, it ought not to bo bad
" Well, what is it ? Something serious
I know by your looks."
" No, ITattio ; nothing of tho kind. On
ly I feared it might annoy you. It is only
a note from one of my college chums, Fred
Knowles, saying that he is going to Boston,
and will call on us, and get his dinner to
day," said my husband, finishing the sen
It was my first call to entertain company,
and, knowing, by thU time, my ignorance,
I shrank back aflVightcd from the prospect.
I confess too, a feelimr of deep mortification
that my husband could not receive his most
intimate friends ithout so serious a draw
hack upon his pleasure. All my natural
energy and pride was aroused, and I de
termined to become a good pract ical house
keeper at whatever cost of time or labor.
But the present emergency was first to ho
af tended to.
" T suppose I had better get some fresh
loaves from tho bakery ?" Frank looked at
t lie dry, light slices on tho breakfast table
as ho spoke.
" Yes, 1 think so. And somo meat, ITat
tio. The forlorn old roast has lasted a fort
night, I am sure. 1 think I should recog
nize its bones if I saw them in Africa. Do
you think you could broil a steak, llattic?"
" Yes. But Frank you must come out
of tho pai lor and overlook me. And if you
will get some peas, and lettuce, and other
vegetal iles, I shall get up a famous din
ner." A half-smile flitted across his face. Ho
had heard of my famous dinners before."
" Well, we must do our best. Tho ears
will not arrivo till two o'clock, so there will
ho plenty of time both for marketing and
"Is Mr. Knowles very particular ?" T ask
ed, timidly. " Will he notice if things go
just ii littlo wrong?"
" Perhaps not. But he will have a natu
ral curiosity in regard to the capabilities of
his friend's wife. But I think wo shall do
"I am sure we shall," was my encoura
ging response, inspired by a bright idea
that suddenly occurred to me. In accord
ance with it, my husband had no sooner
stalled for tho market, than I, slipping on
my hat and shawl, started on a long walk
through the fields and woods. I was going
to consult my mother about tho dinner. I
surprised her by bursting into tho dining
room, quite out of breath from my hurried
! walk, just as tho family wore sitting down
to a late breakfast.
1 "Is itllattio or her ghost?" asked my
father, getting up to welcome me. " If
j my memory serves mo our Ilattie used to
be a late riser." '
j " Housekeeping improves me, papa."
"Don't wait to talk," said mamma.
I " Tho coffee will be spoiled. Take off your
IVow I3looiufielI, Xsi,., IHiiy
bonnet, Ilattie, while I got another cup
and plate, and we will chat afterward."
" No, thank you. I cannot stop a minute."
Mamma opened her eyes in astonishment.
" You aro not going to walk directly back
again ? Let mo take your shawl."
"But 1 must go. Wo aro going to have
company to dinner. Frank's chum. And
I want to know how long to boil potatoes
and olher "
Such a chorus of laughter as interrupted
me. " Why, my dear child, boil them f ill
they are done."
" T know as much as that, mamma; but
when must I begin them to have them done
at the right time ? I have got peas to cook
and beef-steak, and I ought to inako a pud
ding. Oh, dear 1"
They all laughed again, as much at my
distressed looks as at my ignorance. 1 did
not join them ; indeed, it was as much as I
could do to keep back my tears.
" It is not llattic's fault that she knows
so little about cooking," at last said my
father, kindly : "You must not mind our
laughing at you my dear. I havo been
longing to ask what you put into fhat
mince-pio that I cat at your table last Sun
day? I have lasted it ever since. But I
will not tease you, for I have no doubt that
you will in time, be as good a cook as your
mother. And now as it regards the pres
ent difficulty," lie went on pleasantly, "I
have a plan to propose. I will put the har
ness on old Fanny, and you, mother, can
take the poor child homo and stay to super
intend this dinner."
Mamma always assents to papa's plans ;
so my load of responsibility was gono at
once. It was pleasant to see the look of re
lief on my husband's fac.o as wo drove up
to the door. "! have been searching every
where for you," he said, "and I could al
most find it in my heart to scold you for
causing mo so much anxiety ; but your safo
return satisfies me. Especially as your ex
cursion has brought your mother to aid us
in our extrcmity. But, Ilattie, I must in
sist on your having no more private walks."
"Ah, sir! If you had known, you would
have forbidden it. That would have spoiled
I have no doubt that Mr. Knowles left us
that day, under tho impression that my
husband had secured a matrimonial prize.
But I felt like a hypocrite for weeks after
ward. It came to pass, after many days, that
bakers' bread became unendurable. I tried
to believe in it, T praised and tasted it ; but
it would not do. Its glory had departed.
I began heartily to approve of Pharaoh's
course in liffing the head of tho chief ba
ker from off his shoulders and hanging him
upon a trco; but I saw no way.out of my
trouble. I had tried many times to raise
bread, but had not succeeded in making
any fit to appear on the I able. I had a
trillo better success in -making some milk
biscuit, though 1 could never guess right in
regard to tho amount of soda required.
Sometimes they wero yellow enough to be
mistaken for nuggets of virgin gold ; but
oftcner they had the appearance of having
been hardened and compacted in a cheese
press. My husband pretended that they
were passed through heavy rollers, liko
thoso used in foundries. At lirst I tried to
work tho cold biscuit into pudding and
griddlo cakes, but their peculiar solidify
frust rated all such attempts to economize.
1 But when tho caso appeared perfectly hope
j less I had still one resource. There was a
wide ditch behind tho garden, and in its
dark waters I buriod my biscuit out of my
sight. Inexperienced girls should never
commence housekeeping without a conveni
ent ditch at hand. But my troubles did
not end hero. In an evil hour, a neighbor's
hen hatched a big brood of ducklings,
I which, in duo time, found their way to my
I eaeht of provisions. Tho biscuit, so long
in soak, now had a resurrect ion, and I re
member watching the poor fowls as they
vainly attempted to divide them with their
" My dear Ilattie," said my husband, one
morning, after the usual toil of breakfast
was over, " don't you think you could learn
to mako raised bread?"
"I cannot tell, I am quite discouraged."
"You have learned to cook so many
things in so short a time," he went on en
couragingly, "that I am sure if you had
somo ono to give you a few hints about tho
best method, you would succeed admirably.
Why do you not consult your mother ? She
is a superior cook."
"You forget, Frank, how we resented it
when my mother, and sister, and aunts,
and, in fact, all our friends united in pre
dicting our present perplexities. No, it
would bo too mortifying to go homo for
for counsel in this matter. Indeed, I am
ashamed to expose my ignorance by con
sulting any one. I give all my visitors ba
ker's bread, and they, having it occasional
ly, seem to like it."
" Suppose wo try hoarding Ilattie ?"
" We cannot afford that ; and, besides, wo
want a home by ourselves. You would not
bo contented to give up our homo liberties
and privileges, Frank. If it were not for
tho eternal bread quest inn, we could get a
littlo enjoyment out of life ; but comfort is
now out of tho question. I wish Frank,"
I added, pettishly, " that you had married
a housekeeper, and I had gono into a con
His face flushed. "I was not finding
fault, ITattie. I am as ignorant as yourself,
and I am sure I could not get along with
the countless details of kitchen work hair
as skillfully and cheerfully as you do. I
think you will conquer this difficulty in
"In time, if ever," I responded, ungra
ciously. "I hope there will bo no bread
making in eternity 1"
He looked at mo in Rurprlso for a mo
ment, but ho did not reply. Tho marked
irreverence of my language effected him
painfully ; but he saw I was in too reckless
a mood to he reasoned with.
After ho had gone to his study, I sat
down to think. I felt wickfcd and unhappy.
I knew I had spoken unkindly and ungen
erously to my husband, whoso unwearied
forbearance and gentleness, amid tho incon
veniences caused by my incompetency, had
so often excited my gratitude. Alas, that
so much misery could result from the want
of a loaf of good bread !
A sudden resolve inspired me. "Without
waiting to clear away the breakfast things.
I went into a kind old lady in tho neighbor
hood, and after confessing my ignorance,
begged to be initiated into tho mysteries
of broad making.
" There is no troublo." said tho old lady,
"if you havo good yeast."
" But I have tried yeast, and my bread
" You let it stand too long. It must bo
put in tho pans as soon as it is light, and
then stand till it begins to come up again."
"But whero can I get good yeast?"
"At tho bakery. I get mine there. You
can't help having good bread if the yeast is
right. Only bo suro to bako it soon
I was soon on my way to the bakery, a
mile distant. Tho fresh air and pleasant
sunlight soon had their usual genial influ
ence upon mo, and I began to get back my
lost courage and cheerfulness.
"After all," I said to myself, "I must
succeed if I persevere. I am not naturally
dull, and I will learn to mako good bread if
it takes mo a year.
I procured a pint of yeast and hastened
homo. I determined that tho "hoisting"
clement should not bo lacking in quantity ;
so I put into tho Hour all the yeast I had
bought, only adding a cup of milk to
moisten it sufficiently. It smelt very strong
ly of hops, but I thought that would bake
I had scarcely placed it in a warm corner
by tho stove to rise, when I recollected Mrs.
Lee's caution about baking it in time to
prevent its souring.
" I must run no risk of that, at all events, "
I said. " I am sure there is yeast enough
Terms: IN ADVANCE.
i One Dollar 2cv Year.
in it to raise it if I bake it directly. It can
rise in the oven, to be sure. Dear mo ! how
green it looks 1 But it will all come right
in baking, I dare say."
So, without further delay, I placed it in
the oven. I would not, if I could, describo
its appearance when it caino out. I did
not wait to test its quality, but threw it,
almost hissing hot, into that long suffering
ditch. I am afraid it is there now. It is
many years since I left tho place, but I
often fancy half a dozen ducks hard at
work upon it.
I went back to tho house, and, for tho
first timo sat down to have a hearty crying
spell. It was no genteel sniffle, with just
tears enough to add lustre to my eyes ; but
a downright sobbing that would have done
credit to any whipped youngestcr of ten. I
was utterly discouraged. In Ibis condition
my husband found me when ho came down
to dinner. There was no dinner cooked
and the - breakfast-table stood just as wo
had left it.
At first he looked much alarmed, at tho
state of affairs. Then ho came and sat
down by me, and drew my head from . the
hard table, upon which it had rested, to his
shoulder. How soothingly and encourag
ingly ho talked to me 1 Ho seemed to have
quite forgotten my provoking language
to himself, and to be only anxious to com
After a time I told him the sad experience
of the morning, tho long, fatiguing walk,
f ho attempt to obtain instruction, and tho
lifeless result. It was anything but a
funny story to me, but I felt him trembling
as I proceeded; and when I concluded
with this amiablo wish, that thoso ducks
might bo choked to death if they ever
brought that bread up to the light of day
he broke out into a fit of laughter such as
I had never seen him indulge in. It was
a long timo before he was sober enough to
"I think, Ilattie," ho said, at last, "that
you have at least taken one step in the right
"Why, after confiding in old Mrs. Lee,
it will not now bo difficult to tell her of
your failure, and to ask for the privilcgo of
fixing a few loaves under her direction.
You will easily get the art in this way, and
she is too kind to care for tho troublo."
" To be suro Frank. I wonder I did not
think of that. I shall try very hard, and
you will havo a housekeeper yet."
"And you will not sigh for a convent,
" Ah, Frank I it is fortunate that I havo
a considerate husband. Every body would
not forgivo such a temper as I exhibited
Wo extemporized a lunch to servo for a
dinner ; and then I again set off to visit
Mrs. Lee. At last I learned to mako bread.
I could fill many pages with such doloful
reminiscences, and should bo willing to do
so, if I could convince ono young girl tho
importance of practical housekeeping knowl
edge ; or mako her understand how much
of tho grace and comfort of a homo de
pends upon tho domestic habits of its mis
tress. But I will only indulge my vanity by
stating, what is really true, that I can now
cook a dinner, clear-starch and iron, pre
serve aiid pieklo, knit stockings and darn
them, all in unexccptionablo stylo. If any
ono doubts it, let him or her come and pass
a week at the pretty parsonage in tho rural
villago of Lanswood.
tW An Irish glazier was putting a pane
of glass into a window, when a groom who
was standing by, began joking with hire,
telling lain to mind and put in plenty of
putty. Tho Irishman boro the banter for
some time, butatlast silenced his tormentor
by "Arrah, now be offwid ye, or else I'll
put a pane in yor head without any putty."
IW Modern belles are said to be like
burglars, because they destroy the finest
locks by introducing powder into thorn.