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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Bounder the while looking on approvingly


'Why

is it different?' said the woman sharply. 'You and me, we've got as good right to be saints as she has, or anybody. I tell you I've made a vow. _I_ ain't no saint, but I'm agoin' to sell her no onions.'

'Mum!' said Christopher, astounded.

'Nor nothin' else,' Mrs. Blumenfeld went on. 'How many d'ye want?'

Mr. Bounder's wits were not quick enough to follow these sharp Yankee turns. Like the ships his countrymen build, he could not come about so quick. It is curious how the qualities of people's minds get into their shipbuilding and other handicraft. It was not till Mrs. Blumenfeld had repeated her question that he was able to answer it.

'I suppose, mum, a half a bushel wouldn't be no more'n enough to go through with.'

'Wall, I've got some,' the gardener's widow went on; 'the right sort; white, and as soft as cream, and as sweet as onions kin be. I'll send you up a bag of 'em.'

'But then I must be allowed to pay for 'em,' said Christopher.

'I tell you, I won't sell her nothin'--neither onions nor nothin' else.'

'Then, mum,--it's very handsome of you, mum; that I must say, and won't deny--but in that case I am afraid Miss Esther would prefer that I should get the onions somewheres else.'

justify;">'Jes' you hold your tongue about it, an' I'll send up the sass; and ef your Queen Esther says anything, you tell her it's all paid for. What else do you want that's my way?'

While she spoke, Mrs. Blumenfeld was carefully detaching a root of celery from the rich loose soil which enveloped it, and shaking the white stalks free from their encumbrance, Mr. Bounder the while looking on approvingly, both at the celery, which was beautifully long and white and delicate, and at the condition of things generally on the ground, all of which his eye took in; although he was too much of a magnate in his own line to express the approval he felt.

'There!' said Mrs. Blumenfeld, eyeing her celery stalks; 'kin you beat that where you come from?'

'It's very fair,' said Christopher--'very fair. But England can beat the world, mum, in gardening and that. I suppose you can't expect it of a new country like this.'

'Can't expect what? to beat the world? You jes' wait a bit, till you see. You jes' only wait a bit.'

'What do you think of England and America going into partnership?' asked Mr. Bounder, bending to pick up a refuse stem that Mrs. Blumenfeld had rejected. 'Think we couldn't be a match for most things u-nited?'

'I find myself a match for most things, as it is,' returned the lady promptly.

'But you must want help sometimes?' said Christopher, with a sharp and somewhat sly glance at her.

'When I do, I git it,--or I do without it.'

'That's when you can't get the right kind.'

'Jes' so.'

'It ain't for a man properly to say what he can do or what he can't do; words is but breath, they say; and those as know a man can give a pretty good guess what he's good for; but, however, when he's speakin' to them as don't know him, perhaps it ain't no more but fair that he should be allowed to speak for himself. Now if I say that accordin' to the best o' my knowledge and belief, what I offer you _is_ the right kind o' help, you won't think it's brag or bluster, I hope?'


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