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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And I don' know where an indiwiddle thing is


'Oh,

Barker, how lovely it is!'

'If you please, which is it, Miss Esther?'

'Look at that beautiful river. And the light. And the air, Barker. It is delicious!'

'I can't see it, mum. All I can see is that there ain't an indiwiddle cheer standin' on its own legs in all the house; and whatever'll the colonel do when he comes down? and what to begin at first, I'm sure I don't know.'

'We'll arrange all that. Where is Christopher? We want him to open the boxes. We'll get one room in some sort of order first, and then papa can stay in it. Where is Christopher?'

They had to wait a few minutes for Christopher, and meanwhile Esther took a rapid review of the rooms; decided which should be the dining-room, and which the one where her father should have his sofa and all his belongings. Then she surveyed the packing-cases, to be certain which was which, and what ought to be opened first; examining her ground with the eye of a young general. Then, when the lagging Mr. Bounder made his appearance, there was a systematic course of action entered upon, in which packing-cases were knocked apart and cleared away; chairs, and a table or two, were released from durance and set on their legs; a rug was found and spread down before the fireplace; the colonel's sofa was got at, and unboxed, and brought into position; and finally a fire

was made. Esther stood still to take a moment's complacent review of her morning's work.

'It looks quite comfortable,' she said, 'now the fire is burning up. We have done pretty well, Barker, for a beginning?'

'Never see a better two hours' job,' said Christopher. ''Tain't much more. That's Miss Esther. Sarah there, she wouldn't ha' knowed which was her head and which was her heels, and other things according, if she hadn't another head to help her. What o'clock is it now, Miss Esther?'

'It is some time after eight. Papa may be down any minute. Now, Barker, the next thing is breakfast.'

'Breakfast, Miss Esther?' said the housekeeper, standing still to look at her.

'Yes. Aren't you hungry? I think we must all want it.'

'And how are we goin' to get it? The kitchen's all cluttered full o' boxes and baggage and that; and I don' know where an indiwiddle thing is, this minute.'

'I saw the tea-kettle down-stairs.'

'Yes 'm, but that's the sole solitary article. I don' know where there's a pan, nor a gridiron; and there's no fire, Miss Esther; and it'll take patience to get that grate agoin'.'

The housekeeper, usually so efficient, now looked helpless. It was true, the system by means of which so much had been done that morning, had proceeded from Esther's head solely. She was not daunted now.


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