Esther took a last look up and down the street, and then went into the house with much reluctance. After locking the front door the girls went into the dining room and Jane lighted the lamp. Esther had taken off her shoes and thrown them on the floor, as was her custom, when it suddenly occurred to her that there was butter-milk in the cellar, and the same instant she made up her mind to have some. Taking the lamp from Jane, she runs into the cellar in her stocking feet, drinks about a pint of butter-milk and runs up again, telling her sister, who has been meanwhile in the dark dining room, that a large rat passed between her feet while in the cellar.
“Come right up to bed you silly girl,” said Jane, “and don’t be talking about rats at this time of night.” So Jane took the lamp and Esther picked up her shoes, and they went to their bed-room.
After closing the door of their room, “Esther,” said Jane, “you are foolish to think anything at all about Bob.”
“Oh, mind your own business, Jane,” Esther replied “let’s say our prayers and retire;” and so they did.
The fatal ride.
Esther and Jane arose on the morning of August 28th, 1878, as was their usual custom, at half-past six, and ate breakfast with the rest of the family.
After breakfast Jane went to Mrs. Dunlap’s, Dan to his shoe factory with his brother-in-law, William Cox, John Teed also went to his work, and none of the family remained in the house but Olive and Esther, who commenced to wash up the breakfast dishes and put the dining room in order, so that part of their work at least should be finished before the two little boys came down stairs to have their childish wants attended to. What with making the beds and sweeping the rooms, and washing out some clothing for the boys, both Esther and Olive found plenty to occupy their time until the hour for preparing dinner arrived. When Olive commenced that rather monotonous operation, assisted by Esther, who, as she sat on the door-step between the dining room and kitchen paring potatoes, and placing them in a can of cold water beside her, attracted her sister’s attention by her continued silence and the troubled expression of her countenance.
“What in the name of the sun ails you to-day, Esther?” inquired Olive, really worried by her little sister’s sad appearance.
“Oh, nothing, Olive! only I was thinking that if—that if—that if—”
“Well! well, go on, go on, it is not necessary to say that if—five or six times in succession, is it, before telling me what’s the matter with you, you nonsensical, giddy, hard-headed girl. I believe you have fallen in love so with Bob McNeal, that you are worrying yourself to death because you know he is too poor to marry you and you are afraid some rich girl will fall in love with him, and that he will marry her and give you the cold shoulder. There, that’s just what I think is the matter with you, and I can tell you one thing my young lady, and that is, that the sooner you get over your infatuation for that young man, the better for you, and the better for us all. There now, I’m done. No I’m not either, listen to me, girl, and don’t make me angry by turning up your nose while I am giving you good advice.”