Not All in Vain (Classic Reprint)by Mrs. Cross
Mr. Dugald Alexander had the gout rather badly, as old gentlemen in Australia do sometimes, though not very often. In his best health he was an unamiable person, and under these circumstances a brute simply. Young Mrs. Dugald, who had her father and two girl friends staying with her, was at her wits end to reconcile her duties as hostess
Excerpt from Not All in Vain
Mr. Dugald Alexander had the gout rather badly, as old gentlemen in Australia do sometimes, though not very often. In his best health he was an unamiable person, and under these circumstances a brute simply. Young Mrs. Dugald, who had her father and two girl friends staying with her, was at her wits end to reconcile her duties as hostess and wife - to give her guests pleasure, and at the same time to spare annoyance to her lord, who hated to see people happy. Christmas was close at hand; three of her four domestics, under the pretext that they couldn't stand the masters temper, were making ready to depart that they might enjoy the holiday season as Australian servants, sure of a choice of good places at any moment, are privileged to do; and the nominal mistress of the house was terribly concerned. How to "keep" the sacred festival herself with any sort of decency she was at a loss to know.
"Do what you like," said Mr. Alexander, as if he really thought such bliss was possible. "I don't care a hang what you do, as long as you don't bother me."
Mrs. Alexander listened meekly, and meditated.
"I could take them out for, picnics, she suggested, but for leaving you alone, dear."
"Pray don't stay in on that account," he snapped viciously. "I'd be only too glad of a little peace from their everlasting giggling and cackling."
"We might even," she proceeded, in a pondering tone, "take a tent and camp over Christmas in the ranges, so as to save all fuss in the house - if only you -"
"Oh, pray leave me out of the question, don't care. You know I can't eat Christmas dinners. Go, and welcome, and stop away for a week - the longer the better, as far as I am concerned.
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