A CHARACTER SKETCH
They called her Treesa. She was not young. That she had ever been was hard to realize. Whatever her childhood, and however the years had brought her up to woman’s estate, there was no footprint upon the worn face of the gladsome time we call youth. No light in the eye of other and happier days. No echo in the quiet heart, of bounding pulses, or ever a sweet enthusiasm. The treadmill of duty in life’s most trivial task, enthralled her every faculty. Her daily round was in a large hotel—an arena of toil circumscribed by four brick walls. Her domain was the parlor floor; that sacred area of rosy vistas and costly suites, where she was as proud to tread as a king in his royal glory. Where beauty and fashion made for her a panorama of short glimpses amid pauses of broom and duster.
The maids on the other floors might earn the wage just as honorably; Treesa permitted no trespass upon her exalted territory. The bridal chambers, the private sitting rooms, the luxurious sleeping apartments—these were her pride and her joy. The Excelsior had a reputation, national and international. Princes and potentates had slumbered in Treesa’s chambers. The “nobility and the gentry” had been feted there. Year after year her pale eyes had watched over the welfare of distinguished visitors, American and foreign. They had seen the help come and go; she was still the “girl of the parlor floor.” Discreet, silent, honest, they might well allow her a share of caprice. “Cranky” they called her, yet no one found fault. She neglected no duty. The lady manager of the interior was not always the same. She changed from time to time; Treesa was always the same, and always there. At length there came a dainty little woman, full of native pluck, who was born to rule, and rule she did, to the limit of her jurisdiction. Though so far apart, a kindred chord was struck between mistress and maid. The high spirit that smouldered in these two never crossed; but with the smallest tangible demonstration they were fast friends. The girl’s horizon now bordered a triune interest;—the church, the mistress, and the parlor floor. Gaunt and spare, she trod her beat. Shy of manner, with eyes looking nowhere, she seemed a human machine of the broom. A woman without kith or kin, without a history, and apparently without a memory. Never sick, never absent, never a letter from friends, never a visit away. The old habitues of the house liked her. She gave no sign of favor or disfavor, till at last it was their way to respect her and leave her alone. But whenever a mission of trust was needed Treesa was the one called upon.