Old Ellen was the cook, and she had been known to Thaddeus as “Old Ellen” even before his lips were able to utter the words.
“Ellen has her ways, and Jane has hers,” said Bessie. “After Jane has got accustomed to Ellen’s way of getting breakfast ready, she will know better how to go about her own work. I think, perhaps, cook’s manner is a little harsh. She made Jane cry about the omelet this morning; but Jane is teary, anyhow.”
“It wouldn’t do to have Ellen oily and Jane watery,” Thaddeus answered. “They’d mix worse than ever then. We’re in pretty good luck as it is.”
“I think so, too, Teddy,” Bessie replied; “but Jane is so foolish. She might have known better than to send the square platter down to Ellen for an omelet, when the omelet was five times as long as it was broad.”
“You always had square omelets, though, at your house—that is, whenever I was there you had,” said Thaddeus. “And I suppose Jane’s notion is that as things happened under your mother’s regime, so they ought to happen here.”
“Possibly that was her notion,” replied Bessie; “but, then, in your family the omelets were oblong, and Ellen is too old to depart from her traditions. Old people get set in their ways, and as long as results are satisfactory, we ought not to be captious about methods.”
“No, indeed, we shouldn’t,” smiled Thaddeus; “but I don’t want you to give in to Ellen to too great an extent, my dear. This is your home, and not my mother’s, and your ways must be the ways of the house.”
“Ellen is all right,” returned Bessie, “and I am so delighted to have her, because, you know, Teddy dear, she knows what you like even better, perhaps, than I do—naturally so, having grown up in your family.”
“Reverse that, my dear. Our family grew up on Ellen. She set the culinary pace at home. Mother always let her have her own way, and it may be she is a little spoiled.”
“Do you know, Teddy, I wonder that, having had Ellen for so many years, your mother was willing to give her up.”
“Oh, I can explain that,” Thaddeus answered. “I’m the youngest, you know; the rest of the family were old enough to be weaned. Besides, father was getting old, and he had a notion that the comforts of a hotel were preferable to the discomforts of house-keeping. Father likes to eat meals at all hours, and the annunciator system of hotel life, by which you can summon anything in an instant, from a shower-bath to a feast of terrapin, was rather pleasing to him. He was always an admirer of the tales of the genii, and he regards the electric button in a well-appointed hotel as the nearest approach to the famous Aladdin lamp known to science. You press the button, and your genii do the rest.”
“But a hotel isn’t home,” said Bessie.
“A hotel isn’t this home,” answered Thaddeus. “Love in a cottage for me; but, Bessie, perhaps you—perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to speak to Jane and Ellen this morning about their differences. I am an hour late now.”