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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And were seen about the sepulchre


The

small house at last looked homelike. On the front room Esther had put a warm, dark-looking carpet; the chintz curtains were up and in harmony with the carpet; and the colonel's lounge was new covered with the same stuff. The old furniture had been arranged so as to give that pleasant cosy air to the room which is such a welcome to the person entering it, making the impression of comfort and good taste and of the habit of good living; not good living in matters of the table, but in those other matters which concern the mind's nourishment and social well-being. Everything was right and in order, and Esther surveyed her work with much content.

'It looks _very_ nice,' she said to her good friend the housekeeper.

'It do, mum,' Mrs. Barker answered, with a reservation. 'But I'm thinkin', Miss Esther, I can't stop thinkin', whatever'll the colonel say when he sees the outside.'

'He shall see the inside first. I have arranged that. And, Barker, we must have a capital supper ready for him. We can afford it now. Have a pheasant, Barker; there is nothing he likes better; and some of that beautiful honey Mrs. Bounder has brought us; I never saw such rich honey, I think. And I have good hope papa will be pleased, and put up with things, as I do.'

'Your papa remembers Gainsborough Manor, mum, and that's what you don't.'

'What

then! Mrs. Barker, do you really think the Lord does _not_ know what is good for us? That is sheer unbelief. Take what He gives, and be thankful. Barker, why do you suppose the angels came to the sepulchre so, as they did the morning of the resurrection?'

'Mum!' said Mrs. Barker, quite taken aback by this sudden change of subject. But Esther went on in a pleasant, pleased tone of interest.

'I was reading the last chapter of Matthew this morning, and it set me to thinking. You know a number of them, the angels, came, and were seen about the sepulchre; and I suppose there was just a crowd of them coming and going that morning. What for, do you suppose?'

'Miss Esther!' said the housekeeper open-mouthed, 'I'm sure I can't say.'

'Why, they came _to see the place_, Barker; just for that. They knew what had been done, and they just came in crowds, as soon as Jesus had left the sepulchre--perhaps before--to look at the spot where that wonder of all wonders had been. But it never occurred to me before how like it was to the way we human creatures feel and do. _That_ was what they came for; and don't you remember what one of them, with his lightning face and his robes of whiteness, sitting on the stone, said to the women? He told them to do what he had been doing. "_Come see the place_." It brought the angels nearer to me than ever they had seemed to be before.'

Mrs. Barker stood there spellbound, silenced. To be sure, if Miss Esther's head was so busy with the angels, she was in a sort lifted up above the small matters or accidents of common earthly life. And as much as the words the girl's face awed her too, its expression was so consonant with them.

'Now, Barker, Christopher may bring up some coal and make a fire before he drives back for papa. In both rooms, Barker. And-- Hark! what is that?'

A long-drawn, musical cry was sounding a little distance off, slowly coming nearer as it was repeated. A cry that New York never hears now, but that used to come through the streets in the evening with a sonorous, half melancholy intonation, pleasant to hear.


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