“Just like a woman!” ejaculated Thaddeus, angrily.
“Yes,” returned Bessie, missing Thaddeus’s point slightly. “It was very thoughtful of Norah to look after John’s work, knowing how important it was to you.”
Fortunately Thaddeus was out of breath trying to shine up the other pointed-toe shoe, so that his only reply to this was a look, which Bessie, absorbed as she was in putting the studs in Thaddeus’s shirt, did not see. If she had seen it, I doubt if she would have been so entirely happy as the tender little song she was humming softly to herself seemed to indicate that she was.
“Some people are born lucky!” growled Thaddeus, as he finished rubbing up the left boot, giving it a satin finish which hardly matched the luminous brilliance of its mate, though he said it would do. “There’s Bradley, now; he never has any domestic woes of this sort, and he pays just half what we do for his servants.”
“Oh, Mr. Bradley. I don’t like him!” ejaculated Bessie. “You are always talking about Mr. Bradley, as if he had an automaton for a servant.”
“No, I don’t say he has an automaton,” returned Thaddeus. “Automatons don’t often work, and Bradley’s jewel does. Her name is Mary, but Bradley always calls her his jewel.”
“I’ve heard of jewels,” said Bessie, thinking of the two Thaddeus and she had begun their married life with, “but they’ve always seemed to me to be paste emeralds—awfully green, and not worth much.”
“There’s no paste emerald about Bradley’s girl,” said Thaddeus. “Why, he says that woman has been in Mrs. Bradley’s employ for seven weeks now, and she hasn’t broken a bit of china; never sweeps dust under the beds or bureaus; keeps the silver polished so that it looks as if it were solid; gets up at six every morning; cooks well; is civil, sober, industrious; has no hangers-on—”
“Is Mr. Bradley a realist or a romancer?” asked Bessie.
“Why do you ask that?” replied Thaddeus.
“That jewel story sounds like an Arabian Nights tale,” said Bessie. “I don’t believe that it is more than half true, and that half is exaggerated.”
“Well, it is true,” said Thaddeus. “And, what is more, the girl helps in the washing, plays with the children, and on her days out she stays at home and does sewing.”
Bessie laughed. “She must be a regular Koh-i-noor,” she said. “I suppose Mr. Bradley pays her a thousand dollars a month.”
“No, he doesn’t; he pays her twelve,” said Thaddeus.
“Then he is just what I said he was,” snapped Bessie—“a mean thing. The idea—twelve dollars a month for all that! Why, if she could prove she was all that you say she is, she could make ten times that amount by exhibiting herself. She is a curiosity. But if I were Mrs. Bradley I wouldn’t have her in the house. So many virtues piled one on the other are sure to make an unsafe structure, and I believe some poor, miserable little vice will crop out somewhere and upset the whole thing.”