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Ernest Dempsey

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What do you say?
By Ernest Dempsey
Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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An aging woman is angry at her little servant for being selfish while she herself exemplifies the attitude.

Victor was confident that he had found the solution to her aunt’s problem. He walked faster than usual in his excitement to inform her of the good news. Brisk walking brought him home sooner and nearly indifferent to the icy evening wind.
‘How was your day?’ he asked as his aunt let him in, with a sullen look on her face. He could imagine how it would change when she hears about the family.
‘Well, not a very nice one,’ she answered.
‘Your blood pressure?’ he asked as they entered her room.
‘No,’ she took her seat near the kerosene heater. ‘That girl Vanessa I had spoken to; she is not coming to work here,’
‘What made her change her mind?’ He was not as surprised as he was impatient to announce his finding.
‘O! You know these skivvies!’ She sounded irritated. ‘She’s been telling me that she cannot keep on working for Mrs. Holmes anymore. It’s convenient for her to work here as my house stands nearer and safer than walking all the way up there. I told Maria to seek some other job for she is hardly able to manage my house. Maria left this afternoon. And now Vanessa tells me that she’ll go on with her work at Mrs. Holmes’ because her salary has been raised by fifty dollars. So what would you call this?’
‘You’re right,’ Victor grabbed the chance to tell her. ‘You are right in looking for a family to move in the annex and work for you in return. I just found one this morning, the ideal one that you’ve been trying to find. They are an elderly couple with a son and a daughter. They cannot pay but the woman is ready to do all the house chores. Her daughter too will look after you. And you know what, they are not complete strangers. The woman’s name is Martha Cribb. She used to be your late mother’s servant. Do you remember her?’
‘Yes, I know her,’ answered the lady who did not seem to welcome his suggestion. ‘If she had come earlier, I would have been glad to let her in.’
‘What are you saying?’ He was taken by surprise. ‘You need her, don’t you? You’ve been trying to find some people who need only do your house work.’
‘Yes, but Victor,’ she said in a persuasive tone, ‘I told my dwellers that they were living in the annex for too modest a sum. Sarah agreed to increase the rent by eighty dollars. Eighty dollars aren’t to be lost. I don’t have so much housework to inevitably require a whole family. I need money better than letting a swarm of people in for the mere sake of a skivvy. It won’t be wise. What do you say to this?’
Like always, Victor had nothing to say to that.

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