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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Barker cannot get along without me


people, papa. I shall do the very best I can. You would like the sitting-room put in order first, where your sofa and you can be quiet?'

'You are going to school.'

'Oh, papa! but I must see to the house first. Barker cannot get along without me.'

'It is her business,' said the colonel. 'You are going to school.'

'But, papa, please, let me wait a few days. After I once begin to go to school I shall be so busy with study.'

'Time you were. That's what we are come here for. The season is late now.'

'But your comfort, and the house, papa?'

'My comfort must take its chance. I wish you to go to Miss Fairbairn on Monday. Then Barker and Christopher can take the house between them.'

There was no gainsaying her father when once an order was given, Esther knew; and she was terribly disappointed. Her heart was quite set on this business of righting and arranging the new home; nobody could do it as it should be done, she knew, except by her order; and her own hand longed to be in the work. A sudden cloud came over the brightness of her spirit. She had been very bright through all the strain and rush of the morning; now she suddenly felt tired and dispirited.

'What is Christopher doing?'

style="text-align: justify;">'Papa, I do not know; he has been opening boxes.'

'Let him put the kitchen in order.'

'Yes, papa.' Esther knew it was impossible, however.

'And let Barker get the rooms up-stairs arranged.'

'Papa, don't you want your sitting-room prepared first?--just so that you may have a corner of comfort?'

'I do not expect to see comfort, my dear, for many a day--to judge by what I have around me.'

Esther swallowed a choking feeling in her throat, commanded back some tears which had a mind to force their way, and presided over the rest of the meal with a manner of sweet womanly dignity, which had a lovely unconscious charm. The colonel did even become a little conscious of it.

'You are doing the best you know, my dear,' he condescended kindly. 'I do not grudge any loss of comfort for your sake.'

'Papa, I think you shall not lose any,' Esther said eagerly; but then she confined her energies to doing. And with nerves all strung up again, she went after breakfast at the work of bringing order out of disorder.

'The first thing for you to do, Barker,' she said, 'is to get papa's sleeping-room comfortable. He will have the one looking to the west, I think; that is the prettiest. The blue carpet, that was on his room at Seaforth, will just do. Christopher will undo the roll of carpet for you.'

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