A small town in one of the Middle Western states was given as the address, and I wrote at once. My letter was strong in requirements, and asked for particulars as to experience, age, references, and nationality. The reply came promptly, and was more to my liking than any I had received before. Name, French; Americans, newly married, twenty-eight and twenty-six respectively; experience four and three years in creamery and dairy work; references, good; the couple wished to work together to save money to start a dairy of their own. I was pleased with the letter, which was an unusual one to come from native-born Americans. Our people do not often hunt in couples after this manner. I telegraphed them to come to the city at once.
It was late in April when I first saw the Frenches. The man was tall and raw-boned, but good-looking, with a frank manner that inspired confidence. He was a farmer’s son with a fair education, who had saved a little money, and had married his wife out of hand lest some one else should carry her off while he was building the nest for her.
“I took her when I could get her,” he said, “and would have done it with a two-dollar bill in my pocket rather than have taken chances.”
The woman was worthy of such an extreme measure, for she looked capable of caring for both. She was a fine pattern of a country girl, with a head full of good sense, and very useful-looking hands and arms. Her face was good to look upon; it showed strength of character and a definite object in life. She said she understood the creamery processes in all their niceties, and that she could make butter good enough for Queen Victoria.
The proposition offered by this young couple was by far the best I had received, and I closed with them at once. I agreed to pay each $25 a month to start with, and explained my plan of an increasing wage of $1 a month for each period of six months’ service. They thought they ought to have $30 level. I thought so, too, if they were as good as they promised. But I had a fondness for my increasing scale, and I held to it. These people were skilled laborers, and were worth more to begin with than ordinary farm hands. That is why I gave them $25 a month from the start. Six hundred dollars a year for a man and wife, with no expense except for clothing, is good pay. They can easily put away $400 out of it, and it doesn’t take long to get fore-handed. I think the Frenches have invested $500 a year, on an average, since they came to Four Oaks.
It is now time to get at the dairy-house, since the dairy and the dairymaid are both in evidence. The house was to be on the building line, and both Polly and I thought it should have attractive features. We decided to make it of dark red paving brick. It was to be eighteen feet by thirty, with two rooms on the ground. The first, or south room, ten feet by eighteen, was fitted for storing fruit, and afforded a stairway to the rooms above, which were