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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Bounder was filling from a pot before the fire


'You've

got something that smells uncommon good there!' said he approvingly.

'I allays du think a hot supper's comfortable at the end o' a cold day,' returned the new Mrs. Bounder. 'I don't care what I du as long's I'm busy with all the world all the day long; I kin take a piece and a bite and go on, but when it comes night, and I hev time to think I'm tired, then I like a good hot something or other.'

'What have you got there?' said Christopher, peering over at the dish on the hearth which Mrs. Bounder was filling from a pot before the fire. She laughed.

'You wouldn't be any wiser ef I told you. It's a little o' everything. Give me a good garden, and I kin live as well as I want to, and cost no one more'n a few shillin's, neither. 'Tain't difficult, ef you know how. Now see what you say to that.'

She dished up her supper, put a plate of green pickles on the table, filled up her tea-pot, and cut some slices from a beautiful brown loaf, which must have rivalled the rye, though it was not that colour. Christopher sat down, said grace reverently, and attacked the viands, while the mistress poured him out a cup of tea.

'Christopher,' she said, as she handed it to him, 'I'd jes' like to ask you something.'

'What is it?'

'I'd like to know jes' why you

go through that performance?'

'Performance?' echoed Christopher. 'What are you talkin' about?'

'I mean, that bit of a prayer you think it is right to make whenever you're goin' to put your fork to your mouth.'

'Oh! I couldn't imagine what you were driving at. Why do I do it?'

'I'd like to know, ef you think you kin tell.'

'Respectable folk always does it.'

'Hm! I don' know about that. So it's for respectability you keep it up?'

'No,' said Christopher, a little embarrassed how to answer. 'It's proper. Don't you know the Bible bids us give thanks?'

'Wall, hev you set out to du all the rest o' the things the Bible bids you du?--that's jes' what I'm comin' to.'

A surly man would not perhaps have answered at all, resenting this catechizing; but Christopher was not surly, and not at all offended. He was perplexed a little; looked at his wife in some sly wonder at her, but answered not.

'Ef I began, I'd go through. I wouldn't make no half way with it; that's all I was goin' to say,' his wife went on, with a grave face that showed she was not jesting.

'It's saying a good deal!' remarked Christopher, still looking at her.


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