roast of beef hardly lasts three days), but just the same I don't intend
to let them think they can put anything over on ME! I always make them
pack and unpack their trunks down-stairs, right under my eyes, and then
I know they aren't being tempted to dishonesty by any slackness on MY
"How much do the maids get here?" Carol ventured.
Mrs. B. J. Gougerling, wife of the banker, stated in a shocked manner,
"Any place from three-fifty to five-fifty a week! I know positively that
Mrs. Clark, after swearing that she wouldn't weaken and encourage them
in their outrageous demands, went and paid five-fifty--think of it!
practically a dollar a day for unskilled work and, of course, her food
and room and a chance to do her own washing right in with the rest of
the wash. HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY, Mrs. KENNICOTT?"
"Yes! How much do you pay?" insisted half a dozen.
"W-why, I pay six a week," she feebly confessed.
They gasped. Juanita protested, "Don't you think it's hard on the rest
of us when you pay so much?" Juanita's demand was reinforced by the
Carol was angry. "I don't care! A maid has one of the hardest jobs on
earth. She works from ten to eighteen hours a day. She has to wash slimy
dishes and dirty clothes. She tends the children and runs to the door
with wet chapped hands and----"
Mrs. Dave Dyer broke into Carol's peroration with a furious, "That's all
very well, but believe me, I do those things myself when I'm without
a maid--and that's a good share of the time for a person that isn't
willing to yield and pay exorbitant wages!"
Carol was retorting, "But a maid does it for strangers, and all she gets
out of it is the pay----"
Their eyes were hostile. Four of them were talking at once. Vida
Sherwin's dictatorial voice cut through, took control of the revolution:
"Tut, tut, tut, tut! What angry passions--and what an idiotic
discussion! All of you getting too serious. Stop it! Carol Kennicott,
you're probably right, but you're too much ahead of the times. Juanita,
quit looking so belligerent. What is this, a card party or a hen fight?
Carol, you stop admiring yourself as the Joan of Arc of the hired girls,
or I'll spank you. You come over here and talk libraries with Ethel
Villets. Boooooo! If there's any more pecking, I'll take charge of the
hen roost myself!"
They all laughed artificially, and Carol obediently "talked libraries."
A small-town bungalow, the wives of a village doctor and a village
dry-goods merchant, a provincial teacher, a colloquial brawl over
paying a servant a dollar more a week. Yet this insignificance echoed
cellar-plots and cabinet meetings and labor conferences in Persia
and Prussia, Rome and Boston, and the orators who deemed themselves
international leaders were but the raised voices of a billion Juanitas
denouncing a million Carols, with a hundred thousand Vida Sherwins
trying to shoo away the storm.
Carol felt guilty. She devoted herself to admiring the spinsterish Miss
Villets--and immediately committed another offense against the laws of
"We haven't seen you at the library yet," Miss Villets reproved.
"I've wanted to run in so much but I've been getting settled and----I'll
probably come in so often you'll get tired of me! I hear you have such a
"There are many who like it. We have two thousand more books than
"Isn't that fine. I'm sure you are largely responsible. I've had some
experience, in St. Paul."
"So I have been informed. Not that I entirely approve of library methods
in these large cities. So careless, letting tramps and all sorts of
dirty persons practically sleep in the reading-rooms."
"I know, but the poor souls----Well, I'm sure you will agree with me in
one thing: The chief task of a librarian is to get people to read."
"You feel so? My feeling, Mrs. Kennicott, and I am merely quoting
the librarian of a very large college, is that the first duty of the
CONSCIENTIOUS librarian is to preserve the books."
"Oh!" Carol repented her "Oh." Miss Villets stiffened, and attacked:
"It may be all very well in cities, where they have unlimited funds, to
let nasty children ruin books and just deliberately tear them up, and
fresh young men take more books out than they are entitled to by the
regulations, but I'm never going to permit it in this library!"
"What if some children are destructive? They learn to read. Books are
cheaper than minds."
"Nothing is cheaper than the minds of some of these children that come
in and bother me simply because their mothers don't keep them home where
they belong. Some librarians may choose to be so wishy-washy and turn
their libraries into nursing-homes and kindergartens, but as long as I'm