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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

No mor'n a cabbage ain't like a camellia


So

he was going to leave it all to her! On ordinary occasions he was wont to consider Esther a child still; now it was convenient to suppose her a woman. He did not put it so to himself; it is some men's way. Esther went slowly to the kitchen, and informed Barker of what was before her.

'An' it's mor'n the middle of October,' was the housekeeper's comment.

'That's very good time,' said Esther.

'You're right, Miss Esther, and so it is, if we was all ready this minute. All ain't done when you are moved, Miss Esther; there's the other house to settle; and it'll take a good bit o' work before we get so far as to that.'

'Papa wants us to be as quick as we can.'

'We'll be as quick as two pair o' hands is able for, I'll warrant; but that ain't as if we was a dozen. There's every indiwiddle thing to put up, Miss Esther, from our chairs to our beds; and books, and china, and all I'll go at the china fust of all, and to-day.'

'And what can I do, Barker?'

'I don' know, Miss Esther. You hain't no experience; and experience is somethin' you can't buy in the shops--even if there was any shops here to speak of. But Christopher and me, we'll manage it, I'll warrant. The colonel's quite right. This ain't no place for you no longer. We'll see and get moved

as quick as we can, Miss Esther.'

Without experience, however, it was found that Esther's share of the next weeks of work was a very important one. She packed up the clothes and the books; and she did it 'real uncommon,' the housekeeper said; but that was the least part. She kept her father comfortable, letting none of the confusion and as little as possible of the dust come into the room where he was. She stood in the gap when Barker was in the thick of some job, and herself prepared her father's soup or got his tea. Thoughtful, quiet, diligent, her head, young as it was, proved often a very useful help to Barker's experience; and something about her smooth composure was a stay to the tired nerves of her subordinates. Though Christopher Bounder really had no nerves, yet he felt the influence I speak of.

'Ain't our Miss Esther growed to be a stunner, though!' he remarked more than once.

'I'm sure I don't rightly know what you mean, Christopher,' his sister answered.

'Well, I tell you she's an uncommon handsome young lady, Sarah. An' she has the real way with her; the real thing, she has.'

'What do you mean by that?'

'I'll wager a cucumber you can tell,' said Christopher, shutting up his eyes slyly. 'There ain't no flesh and blood round in these parts like that;--no mor'n a cabbage ain't like a camellia. An' _that_ don't tell it. She's that dainty and sweet as a camellia never was--not as ever I see; and she has that fine, soft way with her, that is like the touch of a feather, and yet ain't soft neither if you come to go agin it. I tell you what, Sarah, that shows blood, that does,' concluded Christopher with a competent air. 'Our young lady, she's the real thing. You and me, now, we couldn't be like that if we was to die for it. That's blood, that is.'

'I don't know,' said the housekeeper. 'She _is_ sweet, uncommon; and she is gentle enough, and she has a will of her own, too; but I don't know--she didn't use for to be just so.'


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