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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men, chapter 8 (search)
instantly. Sometimes there is an especial maiden aunt to whom a whole town turns, as in James T. Fields's story, where the country boy who had fallen into a well, and whom the collected ladders and ropes of the neighborhood could not extract, was heard shouting from the depths of the earth, Why don't you send for Miss Kent, you fools? The arrival of Miss Kent set everything working smoothly; and so it always is when maiden aunts arrive. The lady from Philadelphia, in Miss Lucretia Hale's Peterkin stories, who always got that luckless family out of all perplexities, was unquestionably a maiden aunt. The party stranded in mid-air, in Howells's Elevator, would undoubtedly have been rescued by a maiden aunt had not the author-with his well-known severity towards women-shut up his aunt Mary in the elevator itself, where she could only request her silly niece not to be a goose. Even in this, we perceive, is the utility of maiden aunts vindicated. It might seem, as we look around at