“But, papa, you said we’d be all settled and ready by the first of January.”
“Yes, I know, but I didn’t say which January.”
“Now, you’re teasing,” said Patty; but she ran away with a light heart, feeling sure that somehow a cook would be provided.
That evening, according to appointment, Pansy Potts appeared for inspection. The whole Elliott family was present, and observed with much interest the strange-looking girl.
But, though ignorant and awkward, Pansy was not embarrassed, and, seeming to realise that her fate lay in the hands of Mrs. Elliott, Mr. Fairfield, and Patty, she addressed herself to them.
Her manner, though untrained, showed respectful deference, and her expressive black eyes showed quick perception and clever adaptability.
“She is all right at heart,” thought Mr. Fairfield to himself, “but she knows next to nothing. I wonder if it would be a good plan to let the two girls help each other out.”
“Have you ever waited at table, Pansy?” he asked, so pleasantly that Pansy Potts felt encouragement rather than alarm.
“No, sir; but I could learn, and I would do exactly as I was told.”
“That’s the right spirit,” said Mr. Fairfield “I think perhaps we’ll have to give you a trial.”
“But don’t you know anything of a housemaid’s duties?” inquired Aunt Alice, who was a little dubious in the face of such absolute ignorance. “For instance, if the door-bell should ring, what would you do?”
“I would have asked Miss Patty beforehand, ma’am, and I would do whatever she had told me to.”
“Good enough!” exclaimed Mr. Fairfield. “I think you’ll do, Pansy; at any rate, you’ll have nothing to unlearn, and that’s a great deal.”
So the waitress was engaged, and it was not long after this that a cook “dropped from the skies,” as Patty expressed it.
One afternoon a large and amiable-looking coloured woman appeared at Mrs. Elliott’s house, with a note from Mrs. Stevens recommending her as a cook for Patty. As soon as Patty saw her she liked her, but, remembering previous experiences, she said:
“Do you understand that you are to work for me? I’m a very young housekeeper, you know.”
“Laws, missy, dat’s all right. Til do de housekeepin’ and you can do de bossin’. I reckon we’ll get along mos’ beautiful.”
“That sounds attractive, I’m sure,” said Patty, laughing. “What is your name?”
“Emancipation Proclamation Jackson,” announced the owner of the name proudly.
“That’s a big name,” said Patty; “I couldn’t call you all that at once.”
“Co’se I shouldn’t expect it. Mancy, mos’ folks calls me, and dat’s good enough for me; but I likes my name, my whole name, and it does look beautiful, wrote.”
“I should think it might,” said Aunt Alice. “Can you cook, Mancy?”
“Oh, yas’m, I kin cook everything what there is to cook, and I can make things besides. Oh, they won’t be no trouble about my cookin’. I know dat much!”