Mistress and Maid: A Household Storyby Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
She was a rather tall, awkward, and strongly-built girl of about fifteen. This was the first impression the "maid" gave to her "mistresses," the Misses Leaf, when she entered their kitchen, accompanied by her mother, a widow and washer-woman, by name Mrs. Hand. I must confess, when they saw the damsel, the ladies felt a certain twinge of doubt as to whether they had not been rash in offering to take her; whether it would not have been wiser to have gone on in their old way-now, alas! grown into a very old way, so as almost to make them forget they had ever had any other-and done without a servant still.
Many consultations had the three sisters held before such a revolutionary extravagance was determined on. But Miss Leaf was beginning both to look and to feel "not so young as she had been;" Miss Selina ditto; though, being still under forty, she would not have acknowledged it for the world. And Miss Hilary young, bright, and active as she was, could by no possibility do every thing that was to be done in the little establishment: be, for instance, in three places at once-in the school-room, teaching little boys and girls, in the kitchen cooking dinner, and in the rooms up stairs busy at house-maid's work. Besides, much of her time was spent in waiting upon "poor Selina," who frequently was, or fancied her self, too ill to take any part in either the school or house duties.
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