“My brother has never had a job.” Miss Araminta sat up at once and wiped her eyes and left, unknowing, a streak of white down a pink cheek that turned purple at the word “job.” “He has been unfortunate in not being able to retain certain positions he has once held, but his health—”
“Rats!” It came out without thinking, but when a man has a worn-out wife and seven children and won’t do this and won’t do that because it is beneath his lordly ideas of what a well-born person should do, it is better for me not to speak of him out loud. I told Miss Araminta she must excuse me, but there were some sorts of men I couldn’t mention with safety and I thought “job” was a very good word, and I would rather have one that paid a dollar a day than borrow money to pay my bills, and that I’d sweep the streets before I would sit down and do nothing if I had a wife and seven children. The look on her face I tucked away, too, to take out on days when there isn’t a thing in sight to laugh at. She can’t help it, Miss Araminta can’t. She was born that way and, not being an evoluting kind, words are wasted when it comes to trying to make her see what she doesn’t want to see. There is a lot of bummy rot in this world which has nothing to do with the proper kind of pride, and it’s my belief we are mighty apt to fill the place in life we are fitted to fill. If a dollar a day is all I am worth it is all I ought to get until I make myself worth more. Of course if people are feeble-minded that’s a different thing. When they are, the State ought to step in and take charge of them in order to protect itself, Jess says, and also she says feeble-mindeders always have the largest families, and even a feeble-minded person knows that is not right.
I didn’t mean to hurt Miss Araminta’s feelings, but that brother of hers is a snuff-the-moon old snob, and I was determined he shouldn’t get a penny of that sapphire money if I could help it, and I told Miss Araminta a few firm facts. After a while she blew her nose and wiped her eyes and I had no further trouble. But I was afraid to trust either her or Miss Susanna with their money, so I took the checks back and told them it was better for me to keep them, as money had such a queer way of disappearing. Any that was handy was used when needed, and when the time came to get the things the money was for there might not be any to get. They handed it back as meek as little lambs.
Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta are crazy about the designs I have sketched for their dresses, and so is Miss Fannie Cross. It is the only talent I have, designing clothes is, and if I ever have to earn my living I am going to be “Katrine” and have a shop on a fine street and charge like old glory for my things. That will make them wanted, and those who think a gown is desirable according to its price can pay enough to make up for those who can’t pay much, and I’ll have a great time charging the payers. I am going to get ready to earn a living, anyhow, because every girl ought to, Fathers or Billys notwithstanding. Life is a very up-and-downy thing, and it is good to know, should it get down, that you can give it a lift up yourself and not have to wait for a shover.