On the day I was born we bought six hair-bottomed chairs, and in ourlittle house it was an event, the first great victory in a woman’s longcampaign; how they had been laboured for, the pound-note and the thirtythreepenny-bits they cost, what anxiety there was about the purchase, theshow they made in possession of the west room, my father’s unnatural coolnesswhen he brought them in (but his face was white)—I so often heard the taleafterwards, and shared as boy and man in so many similar triumphs, that thecoming of the chairs seems to be something I remember, as if I had jumped outof bed on that first day, and run ben to see how they looked. I am suremy mother’s feet were ettling to be ben long before they could be trusted,and that the moment after she was left alone with me she was discoveredbarefooted in the west room, doctoring a scar (which she had been the firstto detect) on one of the chairs, or sitting on them regally, or withdrawingand re-opening the door suddenly to take the six by surprise. And then,I think, a shawl was flung over her (it is strange to me to think it was notI who ran after her with the shawl), and she was escorted sternly back to bedand reminded that she had promised not to budge, to which her reply wasprobably that she had been gone but an instant, and the implication thattherefore she had not been gone at all. Thus was one little bit of herrevealed to me at once: I wonder if I took note of it.
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