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Some chaos, please

People who go along after other people, tidying things up, ought to be dealt with summarily. It is perfectly all right if they sweep the crumbs off the floor. It is perfectly all right if they plump the cushions and straighten the rugs; fine if they fold things. And it is perfectly all right if they dust under things and then put them back where they were. It is when they dare to movem things that they invite murder. Oh, not just an inch or two -- one is not as ridiculously persnickety as that -- but out of sight and reach, sometimes even beyond recall.

Men have a particularly anxious time guarding their scattered possessions from predatory females, and they are often to be seen pathetically wandering round the house looking for their bedroom slippers ("they are back in your bedroom,m dear") or their miniature tool kits ("a month in the sitting room is quitem enough for chisels, don't you think?")

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By nature women are nest makers, and three quarters of them, at the minimum, like their nests to be tidy. Of course, in a world as big as ours there is bound to be a handful of slatterns around, drabs who don't mind kidneys in the soap dish and coal in the bath; but they are rare, and the majority of our sex behave like human vacuum cleaners at least once a day.

Which brings me to my own human hoover who, with the best of intentions, has pretty well deprived me of a future. Loving cleanliness with a passion that has , over the years, scrubbed most of the paint off my doors and walls, preferring all things to be "empty, swept and garnished," she has thrown away the previous piece of blotting paper that has been in my blotter for months. Yes, it has gone! I can hardly believe that such an act of vandalism has taken place under my own roof. By someone I love and trust.

For I am quite undone. On this piece of blotting paper there were written at least six vital telephone numbers, the dates and times of various assignations, Aunt Dot's new address, measurements for curtains, the name of a man who knows of a woman who knows of a boy who would like my old bicycle, the date Gerald gets back from South Africa, and a recipe for making sugarless fudge. All gone!

How can I face the future now that its days have become complete blanks? Which way do I turn when I leave the house? And how can the house survive? Oh, fie, on that fiendish busy bee whose zeal, so misplaced, so unnecessary, has probably altered the whole course of my life!


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