Grace Livingston Hill and A Blue Serge Suit

More from Not Under the Law, by Grace Livingston Hill:

In my last post I explained how Joyce Radway managed to buy a tiny one room house due for destruction, find a place to move it, get workmen to agree to move it, and cook and serve a company dinner all within a couple hours.

Now the dinner is over and she slips out the backdoor of her new landlady’s home to settle down for the night in her new little home- but without furniture, what will she do?
In fact, she really hasn’t even looked at the inside of her new little house.  She finds a wooden box in the middle of the floor, and a stack of newspapers in one corner.  The papers turn out to be left over from a newstand, so they are unused, and the place is moderately clean.

She slides the box against the door (she cant find the key to lock the door).

“She covered the top of the box with a clean newspaper and put her hat and handbag upon them.  Then she attacked the pile of newspapers.  She unfolded theme sheet by sheet and crumpled them thoroughly, throwing them into the corner and when she had covered a space on the floor about six feet long by three feet wide with these crumpled papers crowded close together, she laid several open sheets smoothly over them tucking the edges well underneath, and began again crumpling papers and putting on the top another layer.  These in turn had several whole neewspapers laid smoothly on the top and then another layer until she had quite a comfortable couch of springy paper. She even opened out a couple of papers and filled them crumpled pieces for a pillow.

There were still plenty of newspapers left and she spread them out overlapping one another in layers, until she had a coverlet of good proportions.  Then she folded their edges back to hold them together.

This last layer is her blanket.

She opens the little windows for some air, determining that she must wake up before anybody else does so she can shut them again, and the first thing to buy with her small stock of funds is curtains. She considers using newspaper temporarily, but that would block the air.

She sheds a few tears over her difficult situation, remembers to pray and be grateful, turns the damp newspaper over and settles down for the night.

All I could think of was how much newsprint will be on her face and hands in the morning, but I wonder if newspapers were different back in the day.  She’s now been wearing the same clothes for two days and nights  (she’s slept in her clothes both nights).  She’s cooked two full and heavy meals, although she was wearing a large apron for both of them, spent the night in a hammock, taken a long trolley ride and then a long train ride, walked for blocks in the city, and still looks fresh as a daisy.

Happily, she’s wearing her blue serge suit.

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