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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And quite room enough for Barker


'Oys----ters!----Oys----ters!

Here's your fresh oys----ters!'

'That's just what we want, Barker. Get Christopher to stop the man.'

Esther had arranged that her father's room and belongings at home should not be disturbed until the very day when he himself should make the transfer from the one house to the other. So until that morning even the colonel's sofa had not been moved. Now it was brought over and placed in position between the fireplace and the window, where the occupant would have plenty of light and warmth. The new chintz cover had been put on it; the table was placed properly, and the books which the colonel liked to have at hand lay in their usual position. In the back room the table was set for supper. The rooms communicated, though indeed not by folding doors; still the eye could go through and catch the glow of the fire, and see the neat green drugget on the floor and the pleasant array on the supper table.

'It looks _very_ nice, Barker!' Esther could not help saying again.

'It certainly do, mum,' was the answer, in which, nevertheless, Esther heard the aforementioned mental reservation. If her father liked it! Yes, that could not be known till he came; and she drew a breath of patient anxiety. It was too dark for him to take the effect of anything outside; she had arranged that. One thing at a time, she thought. The house to-day; Major Street to-morrow.

style="text-align: justify;">She met him in the hall when he came, giving him a kiss and a welcome; helped him to take off his greatcoat, and conducted him into the small apartment so carefully made ready for him. It offered as much tasteful comfort as it was possible for a room of its inches to do. Esther waited anxiously for the effect. The colonel warmed his hands at the blaze, and took his seat on the sofa, eyeing things suspiciously.

'What sort of a place is this we have come to?' were his first words.

'Don't you think it is a comfortable place, papa? This chimney draws beautifully, and the coal is excellent. It is really a very nice little house, papa. I think it will be comfortable.'

'Not very large,' said the colonel, taking with his eye the measure of the room.

'No, papa; and none the worse for that. Room enough for you, and room enough for me; and quite room enough for Barker, who has to take care of it all. I like the house very much.'

'What sort of a street is it?'

Must that question come up to-night! Esther hesitated.

'I thought, sir, the street was of less importance to us than the home. It is _very_ comfortable; and the rent is so moderate that we can pay our way and be at ease. Papa, I would not like the finest house in the world, if I had to run in debt to live in it.'

'What is the name of the street?'

'Major Street'

'Whereabouts is it? In the darkness I could not see where we were going.'

'Papa, it is in the east part of the city, not very far from the river. Fulton Market is not very far off either, which is convenient.'

'Who lives here?' asked the colonel, with a gathering frown on his brow.

'I know none of the people; nor even their names.'

'Of course not! but you know, I suppose, what sort of people they are?'

'They are plain people, papa; they are not of our class. They seem to be decent people.'


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