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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

That would only dispose of Buonaparte


'Why,

papa, she is the woman that has the market garden over here. You know.'

'Do I understand you aright?' said the colonel, laying his book down for the moment and looking over at his daughter. 'Are you proposing to go into town with the cabbages?'

'Papa, I do not mind. I would not mind at all, if it would be a relief to you. Mrs. Blumenfeld's waggon is very neat.'

'My dear, I am surprised at you!'

'Papa, I would do _anything_, rather than give you trouble. And, after all, I should be just as much myself, if I did go with the cabbages.'

'We will say no more about it, if you please,' said the colonel, taking up his book again.

'One moment, papa! one word more. Papa, I am so afraid of doing something I ought not. Can you not give me a hint, what sort of proportion our expenditures ought to bear to our old ways?'

'There is the rent, and the keeping of the horse, to be made good. Those are additions to our expenses; and there are no additions to my income. You know now as much as I can tell you.'

The discussion was ended, and left Esther chilled and depressed. The fact itself could be borne, she thought, if it were looked square in the face, and met in the right spirit. As it was, she felt involved in a mesh of

uncertainty. The rent,--she knew how much that was,--no such great matter; how much Buonaparte's keep amounted to she had no idea. She would find out. But how to save even a very few hundred dollars, even one or two hundred, by retrenchment of the daily expenses, Esther did not see. Better, she thought, make some great change, cut off some larger item of the household living, and so cover the deficit at once, than spare a partridge here and a pound of meat there. That was a kind of petty and vexing care which revolted her. Far better dispense with Buonaparte at once, and go into town with the cabbages. It will be seen that Esther as yet was not possessed of that which we call knowledge of the world. It did not occur to her that the neighbourhood of the cabbages would hurt her, though it might hurt her fastidious taste. It would not hurt _her_, Esther thought; and what did the rest matter? Anything but this pinching and sparing penny by penny. But if she drove into town with the cabbages, that would only dispose of Buonaparte; the other item--the rent--would remain unaccounted for. How should that be made up?

Esther pondered, brooded, tired herself with thinking. She could not talk to Barker about it, and there was no one else. Once more she felt a little lonely and a good deal helpless, though energies were strong within her to act, if she had known how to act. She mounted the stairs to her room with an unusual slow step, and shut her door, but she had brought her trouble in with her. Esther went to her window to look out, as we all are so apt to do when some trouble seems too big for the house to hold. There is a vague counsel-taking with nature, to which one is impelled


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