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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And Christopher is disposed of


'Christopher

had not the money, papa; and the horse must eat.'

'Not without my order!' said the colonel. 'I will send Christopher about his own business. He should have come to me.'

There was a little pause here. The whole discussion was exceedingly painful to Esther; yet it must be gone through, and it must be brought to some practical conclusion. While she hesitated, the colonel began again.

'Did you not tell me that the fellow had some ridiculous foolery with the market woman over here?'

'I did not put it just so, papa, I think,' said Esther, smiling in spite of her pain. 'Yes, he is married to her.'

'Married!' cried the colonel. '_Married_, do you say? Has he had the impudence to do that?'

'Why not, sir? Why not Christopher as well as another man?'

'Because he is my servant, and had no permission from me to get married while he was in my service. He did not _ask_ permission.'

'I suppose he dared not, papa. You know you are rather terrible when you are displeased. But I think it is a good thing for us that he is married. Mrs. Blumenfeld is a good woman, and Christopher is disposed of, whatever we do.'

'Disposed of!' said the colonel. 'Yes! I have done with him. I want no more of

him.'

'Then, papa,' said Esther, sinking down on her knees beside her father, and affectionately laying one hand on his knee, 'don't you see this makes things easy for us? I have a proposition. Will you listen to it?'

'A proposition! Say on.'

'It is evident that we must take some step to bring our receipts and expenses into harmony. Your going without fruit and fish will not do it, papa; and I do not like that way of saving, besides. I had rather make one large change--cut off one or two large things--than a multitude of small ones. It is easier, and pleasanter. Now, so long as we live in this house we are obliged to keep a horse; and so long as we have a horse we must have Christopher, or some other man; and so long as we keep a horse and a man we _must_ make this large outlay, that we cannot afford. Papa, I propose we move into the city.'

'Move! Where?' asked the colonel, with a very unedified expression.

'We could find a house in the city somewhere, papa, from which I could walk to Miss Fairbairn's. That could not be difficult.'

'Who is to find the house?'

'Could not you, papa? Buonaparte would take you all over; the driving would not do you any harm.'

'I have no idea where to begin,' said the colonel, rubbing his head in uneasy perplexity.

'I will find out that, papa. I will speak to Miss Fairbairn; she is a great woman of business. She will tell me.'


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