There never would have been such a fuss in the house if
it had not been for the hall.
    To be sure the parlor was the cause of it all in the first
place, by putting on airs over other rooms.  But the
other rooms, with the exception of one bed-chamber next
door, would never have had heard the foolish things the parlor
said, if the hall had not ran back and forth and repeated every
    You see the hall had no other occupation or usefulness,
except to go between these rooms, but it might at least have
remained silent after the trouble began.
    It overheard the parlor talking to the bed-chamber one
    "I should think you would be sick of life," said the
parlor, "being used as you are.  The only attention people
ever pay you, is when they are asleep.  And they tear you
all to pieces, fling their clothing about you-- and leave you in
such disorder the moment they awake.  When you are all
neat and orderly no one shows you any attention."
    "I am quite well satisfied with my occupation," said the
bed-chamber, quietly.  "I give people rest and strength for
the duties of life, and I am sure they all think of me kindly
and appreciate me fully."
    "Oh, but I could never endure to be treated like that,"
said the parlor.  "Now, I am always in order and people
always wear their very best clothes when they come near me.
I should be beside myself if I were used the way you are, and
as for the dining-room, store-room, and kitchen, life must be
horrible to all of them.  I feel ashamed whenever I realize
that the kitchen has a right to be called a room as well as
    No sooner had the words been spoken than the hall, like a
veritable tell-tale, went and repeated them to each room that
it ran by.
    "Oh, pshaw," laughed the dining-room.  "The parlor need
not put on any airs over me.  All the members of the family
tell me more of their secrets in a week than Mr. Parlor
hears in a year.  All their best and most valued friends I
meet and entertain, and I am spared being bored by casual
callers and formal acquaintances.  I am sure I am quite as
much of an aristocrat as the parlor.
    Back went the hall with this to the parlor, adding a few
words of course, after the manner of mischief-makers.  "The
dining-room said you needed refreshing awfully," was what
the hall added.
    "Well I'm not all covered with grease spots, at least, like
the dining-room carpet," said the parlor, making a rash asser-
tion at random, for of course the parlor had never called on
the dining-room and knew nothing about the condition of the
carpet, save what the hall told.
    "If the dining-room continues to talk in this manner,"
added the parlor, "I shall class it hereafter with the plebeian
    When the hall told the kitchen of this remark, the kitchen
never answered a word; but this did not suit the mischief-
maker, who wanted to stir up all the trouble possible.  "All
the other rooms look down on you," continued the hall.
"Even the store-room says it is far more respectable to have
trunks and boxes for associates, than servants and working
classes such as you entertain.  You never see the fine people
who come into the house.  Of course I get the first intro-
duction to them all--and the parlor next.  We are really
the two aristocrats--the parlor and I--though I feel friendly
to all the rooms, I am sure."
    Just then in came the master of the house, and the first
thing he did was to search for the mistress of the mansion,
whom he found making a salad in the kitchen.
    "What a delightful place this kitchen is," he said to her as
he looked about.  "It is so clean and comfortable, and home-
like in its air.  I was thinking to-day how much of our
health and happiness depends upon a well-ordered kitchen."
    "Yes," said his wife, "it is the important room in the house.
One could get along without a parlor, but no house would be
a home without a good kitchen."
    "Do you know," said the master, "when I build a house,
I shall have no parlor at all.  A parlor is such a cheerless,
starched up sort of place.  But I shall have a kitchen larger
even than this."
    When the tell-tale hall carried this speech back, the parlor
nearly burst its blinds with rage, while the other rooms
giggled aloud in amusement, for they were all glad to have
the pride of the boastful parlor receive a blow.

The Beautiful Land of Nod by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: Morrill, Higgins & Co. [1892]

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