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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

I have not spoken to Miss Fairbairn


'But,

papa, how can we do without Christopher?'

There was no answer to this.

'I suppose he really has a great deal of time to spare; our garden ground is so little, you know. He does not mean to leave us at all.'

'_I_ mean he shall!'

Esther sat silent and pondered. There were other things she wished to speak about; was not this a good occasion? But she hesitated long how to be gin. The colonel was not very deep in his book, she could see; he was too much annoyed.

'Papa,' she said slowly after a while, 'are our circumstances any better than they were?'

'Circumstances? what do you mean?'

'Money, papa; have we any more money than we had when we talked about it last fall?'

'Where is it to come from?' said the colonel in the same short, dry fashion. It was the fashion in which he was wont to treat unwelcome subjects, and always drove Esther away from a theme, unless it were too pressing to be avoided.

'Papa, you know I do not know where any of our money comes from, except the interest on the price of the sale at Seaforth.'

'I do not know where any _more_ is to come from.'

'Then, papa, don't you think it would

be good to let my schooling stop here?'

'No.'

'Papa, I want to make a very serious proposition to you. Do not laugh at me' (the colonel looked like anything but laughing), 'but listen to me patiently. You know we _cannot_ go on permanently as we have done this year, paying out more than we took in?'

'That is my affair.'

'But it is for my sake, papa, and so it comes home to me. Now this is my proposal. I have really had schooling enough. Let me give lessons.'

'Let you do _what?_'

'Lessons, papa; let me give lessons. I have not spoken to Miss Fairbairn, but I am almost sure she would be glad of me; one of her teachers is going away. I could give lessons in Latin and French and English and drawing, and still have time to study; and I think it would make up perhaps all the deficiency in our income.'

The colonel looked at her. 'You have not spoken of this scheme to anybody else?'

'No, sir; of course not.'

'Then, do not speak of it.'

'You do not approve of it, papa?'

'No. My purpose in giving you an education was not that you might be a governess.'


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