Work: A Story of Experience HTML version

"AUNT BETSEY, there's going to be a new Declaration of Independence."
"Bless and save us, what do you mean, child?" And the startled old lady precipitated a pie
into the oven with destructive haste.
"I mean that, being of age, I'm going to take care of myself, and not be a burden any
longer. Uncle wishes me out of the way; thinks I ought to go, and, sooner or later, will
tell me so. I don't intend to wait for that, but, like the people in fairy tales, travel away
into the world and seek my fortune. I know I can find it."
Christie emphasized her speech by energetic demonstrations in the bread-trough,
kneading the dough as if it was her destiny, and she was shaping it to suit herself; while
Aunt Betsey stood listening, with uplifted pie-fork, and as much astonishment as her
placid face was capable of expressing. As the girl paused, with a decided thump, the old
lady exclaimed:
"What crazy idee you got into your head now?"
"A very sane and sensible one that's got to be worked out, so please listen to it, ma'am.
I've had it a good while, I've thought it over thoroughly, and I'm sure it's the right thing
for me to do. I'm old enough to take care of myself; and if I'd been a boy, I should have
been told to do it long ago. I hate to be dependent; and now there's no need of it, I can't
bear it any longer. If you were poor, I wouldn't leave you; for I never forget how kind
you have been to me. But Uncle doesn't love or understand me; I am a burden to him, and
I must go where I can take care of myself. I can't be happy till I do, for there's nothing
here for me. I'm sick of this dull town, where the one idea is eat, drink, and get rich; I
don't find any friends to help me as I want to be helped, or any work that I can do well; so
let me go, Aunty, and find my place, wherever it is."
"But I do need you, deary; and you mustn't think Uncle don't like you. He does, only he
don't show it; and when your odd ways fret him, he ain't pleasant, I know. I don't see why
you can't be contented; I've lived here all my days, and never found the place lonesome,
or the folks unneighborly." And Aunt Betsey looked perplexed by the new idea.
"You and I are very different, ma'am. There was more yeast put into my composition, I
guess; and, after standing quiet in a warm corner so long, I begin to ferment, and ought to
be kneaded up in time, so that I may turn out a wholesome loaf. You can't do this; so let
me go where it can be done, else I shall turn sour and good for nothing. Does that make
the matter any clearer?" And Christie's serious face relaxed into a smile as her aunt's eye
went from her to the nicely moulded loaf offered as an illustration.
"I see what you mean, Kitty; but I never thought on't before. You be better riz than me;
though, let me tell you, too much emptins makes bread poor stuff, like baker's trash; and
too much workin' up makes it hard and dry. Now fly 'round, for the big oven is most het,
and this cake takes a sight of time in the mixin'."