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My Lady Ludlow Elizabeth Gaskell

Chapter IX.

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And the most delicate dainty work of all was done by Miss Galindo, as Lady Ludlow very well knew. Yet, for all their fine sewing, it sometimes happened that Miss Galindo's patterns were of an old-fashioned kind; and the dozen night-caps, maybe, on the materials for which she had expended bona-fide money, and on the making-up, no little time and eye-sight, would lie for months in a yellow neglected heap; and at such times, it was said, Miss Galindo was more amusing than usual, more full of dry drollery and humour; just as at the times when an order came in to X. (the initial she had chosen) for a stock of well-paying things, she sat and stormed at her servant as she stitched away. She herself explained her practice in this way:-

"When everything goes wrong, one would give up breathing if one could not lighten ones heart by a joke. But when I've to sit still from morning till night, I must have something to stir my blood, or I should go off into an apoplexy; so I set to, and quarrel with Sally."

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Such were Miss Galindo's means and manner of living in her own house. Out of doors, and in the village, she was not popular, although she would have been sorely missed had she left the place. But she asked too many home questions (not to say impertinent) respecting the domestic economies (for even the very poor liked to spend their bit of money their own way), and would open cupboards to find out hidden extravagances, and question closely respecting the weekly amount of butter, till one day she met with what would have been a rebuff to any other person, but which she rather enjoyed than otherwise.

She was going into a cottage, and in the doorway met the good woman chasing out a duck, and apparently unconscious of her visitor.

"Get out, Miss Galindo!" she cried, addressing the duck. "Get out! O, I ask your pardon," she continued, as if seeing the lady for the first time. "It's only that weary duck will come in. Get out Miss Gal- " (to the duck).

"And so you call it after, me, do you?" inquired her visitor.

"O, yes, ma'am; my master would have it so, for he said, sure enough the unlucky bird was always poking herself where she was not wanted."

"Ha, ha! very good! And so your master is a wit, is he? Well! tell him to come up and speak to me to-night about my parlour chimney, for there is no one like him for chimney doctoring."

And the master went up, and was so won over by Miss Galindo's merry ways, and sharp insight into the mysteries of his various kinds of business (he was a mason, chimney-sweeper, and ratcatcher), that he came home and abused his wife the next time she called the duck the name by which he himself had christened her.

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My Lady Ludlow
Elizabeth Gaskell

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