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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Bounder was not misled by this


'It's

sayin' a good deal, to make the first prayer; but ef I made the first one, I'd make all the rest. I don't abide no half work in _my_ garden, Christopher; that's what I was thinkin'; and I don't believe Him you pray to likes it no better.'

Christopher was utterly unprepared to go on with this subject; and finally gave up trying, and attended to his supper. After a little while his wife struck a new theme. She was not a trained rhetorician; but when she had said what she had to say she was always contented to stop.

'How are things going up your way to-day?' she asked.

'My way is down here, I'm happy to say.'

'Wall, up to the colonel's, then. What's the news?'

'Ain't no sort o' news. Never is. They're always at the old things. The colonel he lies on his sofy, and Miss Esther she goes and comes. They want to get a house in town, now she's goin' so regular, only they can't find one to fit.'

'Kin't find a house? I thought there was houses enough in all New York.'

'Houses enough, but they all is set up so high in their rents, you see.'

'Is that the trouble?'

'That is exactly the trouble; and Miss Esther, I can see, she doesn't know just what to do.'

justify;">'They ain't gittin' along well, Christopher?'

'Well, there is no doubt they ain't! I should say they was gettin' on uncommon bad. Don't seem as if they could any way pay up all their bills at once. They pay this man, and then run up a new score with some other man. Miss Esther, she tries all she knows; but there ain't no one to help her.'

'They git this house cheaper than they'd git any one in town, I guess. They'd best stay where they be.'

'Yes, but you see, Miss Esther has to go and come every day now; she's teachin' in a school, that's what she is,' said Christopher, letting his voice drop as if he were speaking of some desecration. 'That's what she is; and so she has to be there regular, rain or shine makes no difference. An' if they was in town, you see, they wouldn't want the horse, nor me.'

'_You_ don't cost 'em nothin'!' returned Mrs. Bounder.

'No; but they don't know that; and _if_ they knowed it, you see, there'd be the devil to pay.'

'I wouldn't give myself bad names, ef I was you,' remarked Mrs. Bounder quietly. 'Christopher'--

'What then?'

'I'm jes' thinkin''--

'What are you thinkin' about?'

'Jes' you wait till I know myself, and I'll tell ye.'

Christopher was silent, watching from time to time his spouse, who seemed to be going on with her supper in orderly fashion. Mr. Bounder was not misled by this, and watched curiously. He had acquired in a few months a large respect for his wife. Her very unadorned attire, and her peculiar way of knotting up her hair, did not hinder that he had a great and growing value for her. Christopher would have liked her certainly to dress better and to put on a cap; nevertheless, and odd as it may seem, he was learning to be proud of his very independent wife, and even boasted to his sister that she was a 'character.' Now he waited for what was to come next.


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