Miss Maloney on the Chinese Question
by Mary Mapes Dodge
OCH! don't be talkin'. Is it howld on, ye say?
An' did n't I howld on till the heart o' me was
clane broke entirely, and me wastin' that thin you
could clutch me wid yer two hands? To think o'
me toilin' like a nager for the six year I 've been in
Ameriky,—bad luck to the day I iver left the owld
counthry! to be bate by the likes o' them (faix an'
I'll sit down when I 'm ready, so I will, Aunt Ryan,
an' yed better be listnin' than drawin' yer remarks)!
an' is it mysel, with five good characters from
respectable places, would be herdin' wid the
haythens? The saints forgive me, but I 'd be buried
alive sooner 'n put up wid it a day longer. Sure an' I
was the granehorn not to be lavin' at onct when the
missus kim into me kitchen wid her perlaver about
the new waiter man which was brought out from
"He 'll be here the night," says she, "and, Kitty,
it 's meself looks to you to be kind and patient wid
him, for he 's a furriner," says she, a kind o' lookin'
"Sure an it 's little I 'll hinder nor interfare wid him
nor any other, mum," says I, a kind o' stiff, for I
minded me how these French waiters, wid their paper
collars and brass rings on their fingers, isn 't company
for no gurril brought up dacint and honest.
Och! sorra a bit I knew what was comin' till the
missus walked into me kitchen smilin', and says
kind o' shcared: "Here 's Fing Wing, Kitty, an'
you 'll have too much sinse to mind his bein' a little
Wid that she shoots the door, and I, misthrusting
if I was tidied up sufficient for me fine buy wid his
paper collar, looks up, and—Howly fathers! may I
niver brathe another breath, but there stud a rale
haythen Chineser a grinnin' like he'd just come off a
tay-box. If you'll belave me, the crayture was that
yeller it ud sicken you to see him; and sorra stitch
was on him but a black nightgown over his trousers,
and the front of his head shaved claner nor a copper
biler, and a black tail a-hangin' down from behind,
wid his two feet stook into the heathenestest shoes
you ever set eyes on.
Och! but I was up stairs afore you could turn
about, a givin' the missus warnin', an' only stopt wid
her by her raisin' me wages two dollars, and playdin'
wid me how it was a Christian's duty to bear wid
haythins and taitch 'em all in our power,—the saints
Well, the ways and trials I had wid that Chineser,
Ann Ryan, I couldn't be tellin'. Not a blissed
thing cud I do but he'd be lookin' on wid his eyes
cocked up'ard like two poomp-handles, an' he
widdout a speck or smitch o' whiskers on him, an'
his finger-nails full a yard long. But it 's dyin' you'd
be to see the missus a' larnin' him, and he grinnin'
an' waggin' his pig-tail (which was pieced out long
wid some black stoof, the haythen chate), and gettin'
into her ways wonderful quick, I don't deny, imitatin'
that sharp you'd be shurprised, and ketchin' an'
copyin' things the best of us will do a-hurried wid
work, yet don't want comin' to the knowledge of the
family,—bad luck to him!
Is it ate wid him? Arrah, an' would I be sittin'
wid a haythen an' he a-atin' wid drum-sticks,—yes,
an' atin' dogs an' cats unknownst to me, I warrant
you, which it is the custom of them Chinesers, till the
thought made me that sick I could die. An' did n't
the crayture proffer to help me a wake ago come
Toosday, an' me a foldin' down me clane clothes for
the ironin', an' fill his haythin mouth wid water, an'
afore I could hinder squirrit it through his teeth stret
over the best linen table-cloth, and fold it up tight,
as innercent now as a baby, the dirrity baste! But
the worrest of all was the copyin' he'd be doin' till
ye'd be dishtracted. It's yersel' knows the tinder feet
that's on me since ever I 've bin in this counthry.
Well, owin' to that, I fell into a way o' slippin' me
shoes off when I 'd be settin' down to pale the praities
or the likes o' that, and, do ye mind! that haythin
would do the same thing after me whiniver the
missus set him to parin' apples or tomaterses. The
saints in heaven could n't have made him belave he
cud kape the shoes on him when he'd be palin'
Did I lave for that? Faix an' I did n't. Did n't
he get me into trouble wid my missus, the haythin?
You're aware yersel' how the boondles comin' in from
the grocery often contains more 'n 'll go into anything
dacently. So, for that matter, I'd now and then take
out a sup o' sugar, or flour, or tay, an' wrap it in
paper and put it in me bit of a box tucked under the
ironin' blankit the how it cuddent be bodderin' any
one. Well, what shud it be, but this blessed Sathurday
morn the missus wos a spakin' pleasant and
respec'ful wid me in me kitchen when the grocer boy
comes in an' stands fornenst her wid his boondles,
an' she motions like to Fing Wing (which I never
would call him by that name ner any other but just
haythin), she motions to him, she does, for to take
the boondles an' empty out the sugar an' what not,
where they belongs. If you'll belave me, Ann Ryan,
what did that blatherin' Chineser do but take out a
sup o' sugar, an' a handful o' tay, an' a bit o' chaze
right afore the missus, wrap them into bits o' paper,
an' I spacheless wid shurprise, an' he the next
minute up wid the ironin' blankit and pullin' out me
box wid a show o' bein' sly to put them in.
Och, the Lord forgive me, but I clutched it, and
missus sayin', "O Kitty!" in a way that 'ud cruddle
"He 's a haythin nager," says I.
"I 've found you out," says she.
"I 'll arrist him," says I.
"It 's you ought to be arristed," says she.
"You won't," says I.
"I will," says she; and so it went till she give me
such sass as I cuddent take from no lady,—an' I give
her warnin' an' left that instant, an' she a-pointin' to