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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Yet Esther felt sober as they drove away


''Cause

she's growin' up to years,' said the gardener. 'La, Sally, folks is like vegetables, uncommon; you must let 'em drop their rough leaves, before you can see what they're goin' to be.'

'There warn't never no rough leaves nor rough anything about Miss Esther. I can't say as I knows what you mean, Christopher.'

'A woman needn't to know everything,' responded her brother with superiority; 'and the natural world, to be sure, ain't your department, Sarah. You're good for a great deal where you be.'

CHAPTER XVIII.

_A NEIGHBOUR_.

The packing and sending off of boxes was ended at last; and the bare, empty, echoing, forlorn house seemed of itself to eject its inhabitants. When it came to that, everybody was ready to go. Mrs. Barker lamented that she could not go on before the rest of the family, to prepare the place a bit for them; but that was impossible; they must all go together.

It was the middle of November when at last the family made their flitting. They had no dear friends to leave, and nothing particular to regret, except that one low mound in the churchyard; yet Esther felt sober as they drove away. The only tangible reason for this on which her thoughts could fix, was the fact that she was going away from the place where Pitt Dallas

was at home, and to which he would come when he returned from England. She would then be afar off. Yet there would be nothing to hinder his coming to see them in their new home; so the feeling did not seem well justified. Besides that, Esther also had a somewhat vague sense that she was leaving the domain of childhood and entering upon the work and sphere of a woman. She was just going to school! But perhaps the time of confusion she had been passing through might have revealed to her that she had already a woman's life-work on her hands. And the confusion was not over, and the work only begun. She had perhaps a dim sense of this. However, she was young; and the soberness was certainly mixed with gladness. For was she not going to school, and so, on the way to do something of the work Pitt was doing, in mental furnishing and improvement? I think, gladness had the upper hand.

It took two days of stage travelling to get them to their destination. They were days full of interest and novelty for Esther; eager anticipation and hope; but the end of the second day found her well tired. Indeed, it was the case with them all. Mrs. Barker had lamented that she and Christopher were not allowed to go off some time before 'the family,' so as to have things in a certain degree of readiness for them; the colonel had said it was impossible: they could not be spared from Seaforth until the last minute. And now here they were 'all in a heap,' as Mrs Barker expressed it, 'to be tumbled into the house at once.' She begged that the colonel would stay the night over in the city, and give her at least a few hours to prepare for him. The colonel would not hear of it, however, but at once procured vehicles to take the whole party and their boxes out to the place that was to be their new home. It was then already evening; the short November day had closed in.


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