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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And the fields is allays green


'It's

good things is as they be, and we've no need to ask. I don't want no more complications, for my part. It's hard enough to manage as it is.'

'But things won't stay as they be,' said the gardener, with a twinkle of his shrewd blue eye as he looked at his sister. 'Do you expect they will, Sarah? Miss Esther's growin' up fast, and she'll be an uncommon handsome girl too. Do you know that?'

'I shouldn't say she was what you'd go fur to call handsome,' returned the housekeeper.

'I doubt you haven't an eye for beauty. Perhaps one ought to have a bit of it oneself to be able to see it in others.'

'Well I haven't it,' said Mrs. Barker; 'and I never set up to have it. And I allays thought rosy cheeks went with beauty; and Missie has no more colour in her cheeks, poor child, than well--than I have myself.'

'She's got two eyes, though.'

'Who hasn't got two eyes?' said the other scornfully.

'Just the folks that haven't an eye,' said the gardener, with another twinkle of his own. 'But I tell you, there ain't two such eyes as Miss Esther's between here and Boston. Look out; other folk will find it out soon if you don't. There ain't but three years between twelve and fifteen; and then it don't take but two more to make seventeen.'

justify;">'Three and two's five, though,' said Mrs. Barker; 'and five years is a long time. And Miss Esther ain't twelve yet, neither. Then when'll ye be goin' after the greens, Christopher?'

'It'll be a bit yet. I'll let you know.'

The fair spring morning was an hour or two farther on its way, accordingly, when the gardener and the little girl set out on their quest after greens. Yet it was still early, for the kitchen breakfast was had betimes. The gardener carried a basket, and Esther too did the like; in hers there was a small trowel, for 'she might find something,' she said. Esther always said that, although hitherto her 'findings' had amounted to nothing of any account; unless, indeed, I correct that, and say, in any eyes but her own. For in Esther's eyes every insignificant growth of the woods or the fields had a value and a charm inexpressible. Nothing was 'common' to her, and hardly anything that grew was relegated to the despised community of 'weeds.'

'What are you going for now, Christopher?' she asked as they trudged on together.

'Well, miss, my old woman there has sent me for some greens. She has a wild tooth for greens, she has,' he added, half to himself.

'What sort of greens can you get?'

'There's various sorts to be had, Miss Esther; a great variety of the herbs of the field are good for eating, at the different times o' the year; even here in this country; and I do suppose there ain't a poorer on the face o' the earth!'

'Than _this_ country? than Seaforth? O Christopher!'

'Well, m'm, it beats all _I_ ever knew for poorness. You should see England once, Miss Esther! That's the place for gardens; and the fields is allays green; and the flowers do be beautiful; and when the sun _shines_, it shines; here it burns.'


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