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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Jest look at them rospberry canes


walked slowly, every step was so full of pleasure. The steps were few, however, and her pleasure was mingled with an odd questioning in her mind, what all this about money could mean? A little footpath worn in the grass led her over the intervening fields to Mrs. Blumenfeld's garden. Christopher must have worn that path, going and coming; for the family had been supplied through the summer with milk from the dairy of the gardener's wife. Mrs. Blumenfeld was out among her beds of vegetables, Esther saw as she drew near; she climbed over the fence, and in a few minutes was beside her.

'Wall, ef you ain't what I call a stranger!' said the woman good-humouredly. 'I don't see you no more'n the angels, for all you're so near!'

'I am going to school, Mrs. Blumenfeld; and that keeps me away from home almost all the week. How do you do?'

'Dear me, I dursn't be anything but well,' said the gardener's widow. 'Ef I ain't at both ends o' everything, there ain't no middle to 'em. There ain't a soul to be trusted, 'thout it's yourself. It's kind o' tedious. I get to the wrong end o' my patience once in a while. Jest look at them rospberry canes! and I set a man only yesterday to tie 'em up. They ain't done nohow!'

'But your garden always looks beautiful.'

'Kin you see it from your windows? I want to know!'

justify;">'Not very much of it; but it always looks so bright and trim. It does now.'

'Wall, you see,' said Mrs. Blumenfeld, 'a garden ain't nothin' ef it ain't in order. I do despise shiftless ways! Now jes' see them rospberry canes!'

'What's the matter with them?'

'I don't suppose you'd know ef I showed you,' said the good woman, checking herself with a half laugh; 'and there ain't no need, as I know, why I should bother you with my bothers. But it's human natur', ain't it?'

'Is _what_ human nature?'

'Jes' that same. Or don't you never want to tell no one your troubles? Maybe ye don't hev none?' she added, with an inquiring look into Esther's face. 'Young folks!--the time for trouble hain't come yet.'

'Oh yes,' said Esther. 'I have known what trouble is.'

'Hev ye?' said the woman with another inquisitive look into the fair face. 'Mebbe. There is folks that don't show what they goes through. I guess I'm one o' that sort myself.'

'Are you?' said Esther, smiling. 'Certainly, to look at you, I never should think your life had been very crooked or very rough. You always seem bright and peaceful.'

It was true. Mrs. Blumenfeld had a quiet steady way with her, and both face and voice partook of the same calm; though energy and activity were at the same time as plainly manifested in every word and movement. Esther looked at her now, as she went among her beds, stooping here and there to remove a weed or pull off a decayed leaf, talking and using her eyes at the same time. Her yellow hair was combed smooth and flat at both sides of her head and knotted up firmly in a tight little business knot behind. She wore a faded print dress and a shawl, also faded, wrapped round her, and tied by the ends at the back; but both shawl and gown were clean and whole, and gave her a thoroughly respectable appearance. At Esther's last remark she raised herself up and stood a moment silent.

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