The Lady and the Stovepipe
Mrs. Althée O’Diette, of 1315 Third street, New Orleans, has a stove in her front hall. To this there would be no objection, were it not for the fact that its pipe after long exposure to the weather has rusted and rotted away outside at the eaves of the house. On these eaves this pipe rests. Naturally the insurance company in which Mrs. O’Diette is insured considered that a stovepipe thus touching the eaves might prove a source of danger if a fire should be lighted in the stove. Accordingly, they notified the fire marshal. That official sent his deputy to investigate.
The lady, on being told that she must have the pipe fixed, politely informed the deputy fire marshal that she would see to it “when she got good and ready.” Four days passed and nothing was done in the way of fixing, on which two deputies and a policeman paid her a visit. Her negro domestic informed them more or less brusquely that the work could not be inspected without first seeing the lady of the house, who was upstairs, and in spite of their repeated requests refused to come down. On the senior deputy asking her to favor him with her name, she so far condescended to yield as to write it on a piece of paper and throw it down over the banisters. Meanwhile, in the proud consciousness of the fact that her house was her castle, she defied them to make an entry, forcible or otherwise, on which the officers of the law. policeman included, per force heat an ignominious retreat. One to another they confessed themselves morally routed and the majesty of the law flouted by the lady’s Amazonian bearing.
On their return to the fire marshal’s office to report progress—or rather obstructiveness on the part of a woman—the heart of that official swelled with indignation. Breathing out moral fire and slaughter against this recalcitrant female he announced his intention of haling her to court if not to prison and compelling her to knuckle down at his behest and effect the required alteration in her stovepipe. At last hearing, however, the lady still held the fort and the stovepipe, rusted and rotten as it is. remained impassive, unmoved and immovable, cradled securely under the shadow of the O’Diette eaves. The question now is, which shall yield, the lady or the stovepipe?