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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

Treating of a Novel Style of Girl

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But all this time we had no girl, and as I had made up my mind about the matter, I naturally grew impatient, and at last I determined to go and get a girl myself.

So, one day at lunch-time, I went to an intelligence office in the city. There I found a large room on the second floor, and some ladies, and one or two men, sitting about, and a small room, back of it, crowded with girls from eighteen to sixty-eight years old. There were also girls upon the stairs, and girls in the hall below, besides some girls standing on the sidewalk before the door.

When I made known my business and had paid my fee, one of the several proprietors who were wandering about the front room went into the back apartment and soon returned with a tall Irishwoman with a bony weather-beaten face and a large weather-beaten shawl. This woman was told to take a chair by my side. Down sat the huge creature and stared at me. I did not feel very easy under her scrutinizing gaze, but I bore it as best I could, and immediately began to ask her all the appropriate questions that I could think of. Some she answered satisfactorily, and some she didn't answer at all; but as soon as I made a pause, she began to put questions herself.

"How many servants do you kape?" she asked.

I answered that we intended to get along with one, and if she understood her business, I thought she would find her work very easy, and the place a good one.

She turned sharp upon me and said:

"Have ye stationary wash-tubs?"

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I hesitated. I knew our wash-tubs were not stationary, for I had helped to carry them about. But they might be screwed fast and made stationary if that was an important object. But, before making this answer, I thought of the great conveniences for washing presented by our residence, surrounded as it was, at high tide, by water.

"Why, we live in a stationary wash-tub," I said, smiling.

The woman looked at me steadfastly for a minute, and then she rose to her feet. Then she called out, as if she were crying fish or strawberries:

"Mrs. Blaine!"

The female keeper of the intelligence office, and the male keeper, and a thin clerk, and all the women in the back room, and all the patrons in the front room, jumped up and gathered around us.

Astonished and somewhat disconcerted, I rose to my feet and confronted the tall Irishwoman, and stood smiling in an uncertain sort of a way, as if it were all very funny; but I couldn't see the point. I think I must have impressed the people with the idea that I wished I hadn't come.

"He says," exclaimed the woman, as if some other huckster were crying fish on the other side of the street--"he says he lives in a wash-toob."

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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