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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Miss Malony on the Chinese Question

By Mary Mapes Dodge (1831–1905)

[Theophilus and Others. 1876.]

OCH! don’t be talkin’. Is it howld on, ye say? An’ didn’t I howld on till the heart of me was clane broke entirely, and me wastin’ that thin ye 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, Ann Ryan; an’ ye’d better be listnin’ than drawin’ yer remarks). An’ is it meself, with five good charac’ters 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 once-t when the missus kim into me kitchen wid her perlaver about the new waiter-man which was brought out from Californy. “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’ off. “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 dacent 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’ ye’ll have too much sinse to mind his bein’ a little strange.” Wid that she shoots the doore; and I, mishtrustin’ 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 ye’ll belave me, the crayture was that yeller it ’ud sicken ye to see him; and sorra stitch was on him but a black night-gown over his trousers, and the front of his head shaved claner nor a copper-biler, and a black tail a-hangin’ down from it behind, wid his two feet stook into the haythenestest shoes ye ever set eyes on. Och! but I was upstairs afore ye 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 haythens, and taitch ’em all in our power—the saints save us! 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’ whishkers on him, an’ his finger-nails full a yard long. But it’s dyin’ ye’d be to see the missus a-larnin’ him, an’ 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, ye’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 o’ 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 ye, which it is the custom of them Chinesers, till the thought made me that sick I could die. An’ didn’t the crayture proffer to help me a wake ago come Toosday, an’ me foldin’ down me clane clothes for the ironin’, an’ fill his haythen mouth wid water, an’ afore I could hinder, squirrit it through his teeth stret over the best linen tablecloth, 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 yerself 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 haythen would do the same thing after me whiniver the missus set him to parin’ apples or tomaterses. The saints in heaven couldn’t ha’ made him belave he cud kape the shoes on him when he’d be paylin’ anything.

Did I lave for that? Faix, an’ I didn’t. Didn’t he get me into throuble wid my missus, the haythen! Ye’re aware yerself 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’-blanket the how it cuddent be bodderin’ any one. Well, what shud it be, but this blessed Sathurday morn, the missus was a-spakin’ pleasant an’ respec’ful wid me in me kitchen, when the grocer buy comes in, and 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 haythen)—she motions to him, she does, for to take the boondles, an’ empty out the sugar an’ what not where they belongs. If ye’ll belave me, Ann Ryan, what did that blatherin’ Chineser do but take out a sup o’ sugar, an’ a han’ful o’ tay, an’ a bit o’ chaze, right afore the missus, wrap ’em into bits o’ paper, an’ I spacheless wid shurprize, an’ he the next minute up wid the ironin’-blanket, and pullin’ out me box wid a show o’ bein’ sly to put them in. Och, the Lord forgive me, but I clutched it, an’ the missus sayin’, “O Kitty!” in a way that ud cruddle your blood. “He’s a haythen nager,” says I. “I’ve found yer out,” says she. “I’ll arrist him,” says I. “It’s yerself ought to be arristed,” says she. “Yer 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 the doore.