10 June 2010

from Good Wives, chapter 1, Gossip (Louisa M. Alcott)

'Do you know I like this room best of all in my baby-house,' added Meg, a minute after, as they went upstairs, and she looked into her well-stored linen closet.

Beth was there, laying the snowy piles smoothly on the shelves, and exulting over the goodly array. All three laughed as Meg spoke; for that linen closet was a joke. You see, having said that if Meg married `that Brooke' she shouldn't have a cent of her money, Aunt March was rather in a quandary, when time had appeased her wrath and made her repent her vow. She never broke her word, and was much exercised in her mind how to get round it, and at last devised a plan whereby she could satisfy herself. Mrs Carrol, Florence's mamma, was ordered to buy, have made and marked a generous supply of house and table linen, and send it as her present. All of which was faithfully done, but the secret leaked out, and was greatly enjoyed by the family; for Aunt March tried to look utterly unconscious, and insisted that she could give nothing but the old-fashioned pearls, long promised to the first bride.

'That's a housewifely taste, which I am glad to see. I had a young friend who set up housekeeping with six sheets, but she had finger bowls for company, and that satisfied her,' said Mrs. March, patting the damask tablecloths with a truly feminine appreciation of their fineness.

'I haven't a single finger bowl, but this is a "set out" that will last me all my days, Hannah says;" and Meg looked quite contented, as well she might.

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