The fresher they are the longer time they will require for boiling. If you wish them quite soft, put them into a saucepan of water that is boiling hard at the moment, and let them remain in it five minutes. The longer they boil the harder they will be. In ten minutes fast boiling they will be hard enough for salad.
If you use one of the tin egg-boilers that are placed on the table, see that the water is boiling hard at the time you put in the eggs. When they have been in about four or five minutes, take them out, pour off the water, and replace it by some more that is boiling hard; as, from the coldness of the eggs having chilled the first water, they will not otherwise be done enough. The boiler may then be placed on the table, (keeping the lid closed,) and in a few minutes more they will be sufficiently cooked to be wholesome.