But we have many others who come to our tea-table: Miss Smiley, who often runs in about six o’clock. All sweetness is Miss Smiley. She seems to like everybody, and everybody seems to like her. Also Miss Stinger, sharp as a hornet, prides herself on saying things that cut; dislikes men; cannot bear the sight of a pair of boots; loathes a shaving apparatus; thinks Eve would have shown better capacity for housekeeping if she had, the first time she used her broom, swept Adam out of Paradise. Besides these ladies, many good, bright, useful and sensible people of all kinds. In a few days we shall invite a group of them to tea, and you shall hear some of their discussions of men and books and things. We shall order a canister of the best Young Hyson, pull out the extension-table, hang on the kettle, stir the blaze, and with chamois and silver-powder scour up the tea-set that we never use save when we have company.
Mr. Givemfits and Dr. Butterfield.
The tea-kettle never sang a sweeter song than on the evening I speak of. It evidently knew that company was coming. At the appointed time our two friends, Dr. Butterfield and Mr. Givemfits, arrived. As already intimated, they were opposite in temperament—the former mild, mellow, fat, good-natured and of fine digestion, always seeing the bright side of anything; the other, splenetic, harsh, and when he swallowed anything was not sure whether he would be the death of it, or it would be the death of him.
No sooner had they taken their places opposite each other at the table than conversation opened. As my wife was handing the tea over to Mr. Givemfits the latter broke out in a tirade against the weather. He said that this winter was the most unbearable that had ever been known in the almanacs. When it did not rain, it snowed; and when it was not mud, it was sleet. At this point he turned around and coughed violently, and said that in such atmosphere it was impossible to keep clear of colds. He thought he would go South. He would rather not live at all than live in such a climate as this. No chance here, save for doctors and undertakers, and even they have to take their own medicines and lie in their own coffins. At this Dr. Butterfield gave a good-natured laugh, and said, “I admit the inconveniences of the weather; but are you not aware that there has been a drought for three years in the country, and great suffering in the land for lack of rain? We need all this wet weather to make an equilibrium. What is discomfort to you is the wealth of the land. Besides that, I find that if I cannot get sunshine in the open air I can carry it in the crown of my hat. He who has a warm coat, and a full stove, and a comfortable house, ought not to spend much of his time in complaint.”