Saturday, April 5, 2014

Labour-Saving Devices

In the days following the party at Held Manor, Dolly and Minerva had very mixed feelings about any further contact with the new people lodged there. However, after several days, a note arrived from Mrs. Arrow, expressing her thanks for their attendance and her deepest regrets about the indecorous behaviour of a number of her guests. A cousin from Life magazine had brought along some friends, whom, he said, were prominent cover subjects, widely considered "the bee's knees" by the popular set. From Mrs. Arrow's words, Dolly and Minerva deduced that "the bee's knees" (whatever that meant) were not what was expected. Mrs. A. begged her neighbours to put this episode behind them and feel free to call at any time. 

Encouraged, Dolly and Minerva set out the next day to leave calling cards. Arriving at the front door, the girls dropped the massive door knocker several times without response. Finding the door unlatched, they crept into the dim reception hall and deposited their cards on the sideboard. From the rear of the house floated the sounds of laughter and female chatter. With unaccustomed daring, Dolly and Minerva followed the noise to a large sunny room where they found Mrs. Arrow and the two Misses Arrow cheerfully doing what resembled housework.

"My dear girls," chirped Mrs. Arrow, "don't look so shocked! We couldn't possibly have left New York without our labour-saving devices! They do save so much money on hiring servants and besides, they make the drudgery of household tasks a pure joy to do!"

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