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|Holiday Romance||Charles Dickens|
PART IV. - Romance. From The Pen Of Miss Nettie Ashford (Aged half-past six.)
|Page 1 of 6||
THERE is a country, which I will show you when I get into maps, where the children have everything their own way. It is a most delightful country to live in. The grown-up people are obliged to obey the children, and are never allowed to sit up to supper, except on their birthdays. The children order them to make jam and jelly and marmalade, and tarts and pies and puddings, and all manner of pastry. If they say they won't, they are put in the corner till they do. They are sometimes allowed to have some; but when they have some, they generally have powders given them afterwards.
One of the inhabitants of this country, a truly sweet young creature of the name of Mrs. Orange, had the misfortune to be sadly plagued by her numerous family. Her parents required a great deal of looking after, and they had connections and companions who were scarcely ever out of mischief. So Mrs. Orange said to herself, 'I really cannot be troubled with these torments any longer: I must put them all to school.'
Mrs. Orange took off her pinafore, and dressed herself very nicely, and took up her baby, and went out to call upon another lady of the name of Mrs. Lemon, who kept a preparatory establishment. Mrs. Orange stood upon the scraper to pull at the bell, and give a ring-ting-ting. Mrs. Lemon's neat little housemaid, pulling up her socks as she came along the passage, answered the ring-ting-ting.
'Good-morning,' said Mrs. Orange. 'Fine day. How do you do? Mrs. Lemon at home!'
'Will you say Mrs. Orange and baby?'
'Yes, ma'am. Walk in.'
Mrs. Orange's baby was a very fine one, and real wax all over. Mrs. Lemon's baby was leather and bran. However, when Mrs. Lemon came into the drawing-room with her baby in her arms, Mrs. Orange said politely, 'Good-morning. Fine day. How do you do? And how is little Tootleumboots?'
'Well, she is but poorly. Cutting her teeth, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon.
'O, indeed, ma'am!' said Mrs. Orange. 'No fits, I hope?'
'How many teeth has she, ma'am?'
'My Emilia, ma'am, has eight,' said Mrs. Orange. 'Shall we lay them on the mantelpiece side by side, while we converse?'
'By all means, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon. 'Hem!'
'The first question is, ma'am,' said Mrs. Orange, 'I don't bore you?'
'Not in the least, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon. 'Far from it, I assure you.'
'Then pray HAVE you,' said Mrs. Orange, - 'HAVE you any vacancies?'
'Yes, ma'am. How many might you require?'
'Why, the truth is, ma'am,' said Mrs. Orange, 'I have come to the conclusion that my children,' - O, I forgot to say that they call the grown-up people children in that country! - 'that my children are getting positively too much for me. Let me see. Two parents, two intimate friends of theirs, one godfather, two godmothers, and an aunt. HAVE you as many as eight vacancies?'
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