+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error


I CAREFULLY peruse every day the Want
Places columns of the Times newspaper.
As I shall presently show, I happen to know
every one of the advertisers, and intend to
introduce them to public notice. The ladies

AS HOUSEKEEPER to a nobleman or gentleman,
a respectable middle-aged party, fully conversant
with her duties. Unexceptionable references. Address
K. G., 3, Preserve Street, Piccallily Gardens.

Mrs. Barbara Blundy is the "party."
She is fond of mentioning, casually, that she
was born in eighteen hundred and ten: but
she is at least fifty; stiff, starched, demure.
Two bands of well-pomatumed brown hair,
and two thin pendants of corkscrew ringlets
are perpetually on duty, on either side of her
severe cap, caparisoned with grey ribbons of
price; Mrs. Blundy's keys and key basket are
her inseparable companions. She carries the
one, she jingles the others with an inflexible
rigidity of purpose. Her dress is of iron
grey; and in it, with her iron keys she looks
like the gaoler, as she is, of the pickles and
preserves; the Charon of the still-room, the
Alecto of the linen-chest, the Megæra of the
house-maids, the Tisiphone of domestic
economy. From her waist descends a silken
apron of rich but sober colours, supposed to
have been originally a genuine Bandanna
handkerchief; one indeed of a set presented
to her by General Sir Bulteel Bango, K.C.B.,
formerly colonel of the old hundredth regiment
(raised by Colonel Sternhold in sixteen
hundred and ninety-one, and known in the low
country campaigns as Hopkins's foot). Mrs.
Blundy wears a spray of ambiguous
transparencies, accepted by a great exertion of
faith by those who pay her court to be Irish
diamonds; but which bear a stronger
resemblance to the glass drops of a bye-gone
girandole. Afternoon and evening she wears
a black, stiff, rustling silk dresslike a
board, as I have heard ladies say. None of
your fal-de-ral lavender boots; but rigid,
unmistakeable shoes of Cordovan leather, with
broad sandals, and stout soles. No gewgaws,
or vain lappets, for Mrs. Blundy, when it
pleases her to walk abroad; but a severe,
composed, decorous, comfortable grey plaid
shawl, a real sable muff (how the cook envies
it!), a drawn silk bonnet, black kid gloves of
stout Lamb's Conduit Street make, and the
keys in a reticule like a silken travelling-bag.
On Sunday evening she sweeps round
the corner to chapel, and "sits under"
the Reverend Nahum Gillywhack (of Lady
Mullington's persuasion); and afterwards,
perchance, condescends to partake of a neatsupper of something warm at Mr. Chives';formerly a butler; but now a green-grocer
(and a widower) in Orchard Street.

When Mrs. Blundy is "suited" in a nobleman
or gentleman's familyas she was at
Lady Leviathan's in Plesiosaurus Square
she is a fearful and wonderful sight. She
moves down the back stairs with the dignity
of a duchess who had come that way by
mistake. Yet she is profoundly humble. She
hopes (oh, how humbly!) that she knows her
place. To see her curtsey to Lady Leviathan,
you would have imagined she was wont to
stand on a descending platform instead of on
a square of the carpetso low did she bend.
Mrs. Blundy considered Miss Poonah (governess
to the Honourables Bovina and Lardina
Lambert, her ladyship's eldest daughters) as
a very well-behaved young person, highly
accomplished, no doubt; but with a "want
of moral fitness;" an ambiguous expression
which told immensely with the schoolroom
maid, who stated that it exactly tallied with
her opinion of Miss Poonah; who was, she
should say, a "stuck up thing."

Mrs. Blundy left Lady Leviathan's in
consequence of a "difficulty" with the lady's maid
respecting Mr. Chives.

Mrs. Blundy is not "suited" just now,
and she is temporarily residing at a serious
butcher's, in a narrow court, behind a great
church at the West End, where Mr Cuffe, the
beadle, not unfrequently condescends to
insert his gold-laced person, and to purchase
a plump chump chop, or a succulent lamb's
fry. When Mrs. Blundy is "suited," (which
will be soon, for her references are
unexceptionable,) she will rule the roast as completely
as ever. She practises, perhaps unconsciously,
Frederic Barbarossa's maxim—"Who can
dissimulate can reign." She will bully the
still-room maid and the footman; and Heaven
only help the housemaids! The terrible
lectures they will have to endure on the
sinfulness of ribbons, the unloveliness of