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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Mary Mapes Dodge (1831–1905)

Miss Malony on the Chinese Question

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 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, Ann Ryan, an’ ye’d better be list’nin’ than drawin’ your remarks), an’ it’s mysel’, with five good characters from respectable places, would be herdin’ wid the haythens. The saints forgive me, but I’d be buried alive soon ’n put up wid a day longer. Sure, an’ I was a 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 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’ looking off. “Sure an’ it’s little I’ll hinder nor interfare wid him nor any other, mum,” says I, 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’ schared, “Here’s Fing Wing, Kitty, an’ you’ll have too much sinse to mind his bein’ a little strange.” Wid that she shoots the doore; and I, misthrusting if I was tidied up sufficient for me fine buy wid his paper collar, looks up and—— Holy fathers! may I never 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 stich was on him but a black night-gown over his trousers, and the front of ’is head shaved claner nor a copper biler, and a black tail a-hanging 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 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 a smitch o’ whiskers on him, and his finger-nails full a yard long. But it’s dying 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’ and 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, and he a-atin’ wid drumsticks—yes, an’ atin’ dogs an’ cats unknownst to me, I warrant you, which 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 a foldin’ down me clane clothes for the ironin’, an’ fill his haythen mouth wid water, an’ afore I could hinder squrrit it through his teeth stret over the best linen table-cloth and fold it up tight, as innercent now as a baby, the dirty baste! But the worrest of all was the copyin’ he’d be doin’, till ye’d be distracted. 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 the way o’ slippin’ me shoes off when I’d be settin’ down to pale the praties or the likes o’ that, and, do ye mind, that haythin would do the same thing after me whiniver the missus set him parin’ apples or tomaterses. The saints in heaven couldn’t have made him belave he cud kape the shoes on him when he’d be payling anything.

Did I lave fur that? Faix an’ didn’t he get me into trouble wid my missus, the haythin? You’re aware yerself how the boondles comin’ 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 should it be, but this blessed Sathurday morn the missus was a-spakin’ pleasant and respecful 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 nor 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 the missus sayin’, “O Kitty!” in a way that ’ud curdle your blood. “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 the doore.