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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

I've allays had summat else on my mind


'Barker,

do you know the Bible much?'

'The Bible, Miss Esther!'

'Yes. Have you read it a great deal? do you know what is in it?'

'Well, Miss Esther, I ain't a heathen. I do read my Bible, to be sure, more or less, all my life, so to speak; which is to say, ever since I could read at all.'

'Did you ever find comfort in it?'

'Comfort, Miss Esther? Did I ever find _comfort_ in it, did ye ask?' the housekeeper repeated, very much puzzled. 'Well, I can't just say. Mebbe I never was just particlarly lookin' for that article when I went to my Bible. I don't remember as I never was in no special want o' comfort--sich as should set me to lookin' for it; 'thout it was when missus died.'

'_She_ said, one could find comfort in the Bible,' Esther went on, with a tender thrill in the voice that uttered the beloved pronoun.

'Most likely it's so, Miss Esther. What my mistress said was sure and certain true; but myself, it is something which I have no knowledge of.'

'How do you suppose one could find comfort in the Bible, Barker? How should one look for it?'

''Deed, Miss Esther, your questions is too hard for me. I'd ask the colonel, if I was you.'

'But I ask

you, if you can tell me.'

'And that's just which I ain't wise enough for. But when I don't know where a thing is, Miss Esther, I allays begins at one end and goes clean through to the other end; and then, if the thing ain't there, why I knows it, and if it is there, I gets it.'

'It would take a good while,' said Esther musingly, 'to go through the whole Bible from one end to the other.'

'That's which I am thinkin', Miss Esther. I'm thinkin' one might forget what one started to look for, before one found it. But there! the Bible ain't just like a store closet, neither, with all the things ticketed on shelves. I'm thinkin' a body must do summat besides look in it.'

'What?'

'I don't know, Miss Esther; I ain't wise, no sort o' way, in sich matters; but I was thinkin' the folks I've seen, as took comfort in their Bibles, they was allays saints.'

'Saints! What do you mean by that?'

'That's what they was,' said Barker decidedly. 'They was saints. I never was no saint myself, but I've seen 'em. You see, mum, I've allays had summat else on my mind, and my hands, I may say; and one can't attend to more'n one thing at once in this world. I've allays had my bread to get and my mistress to serve; and I've attended to my business and done it. That's which I've done.'

'Couldn't you do that and be a saint too?'


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