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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Dallas read his paper comfortably


'Make

himself happy without them, I expect.'

'It wouldn't be like Pitt.'

'You knew Pitt two and a half years ago. He was a boy then; he will be a man now.'

'Do you expect the man will be different from the boy?'

'Generally are. And Pitt has been going through a process.'

'I can see something of that in his letters,' said the mother thoughtfully. 'Not much.'

'You will see more of it when he comes. What do you say in answer to his inquiries?'

'About the Gainsboroughs? Nothing. I never allude to them.'

Silence. Mr. Dallas read his paper comfortably. Mrs. Dallas's brow was still careful.

'It would be like him as he used to be, if he were to make the journey to New York to find them. And if we should seem to oppose him, it might set his fancy seriously in that direction. There's danger, husband. Pitt is very persistent.'

'Don't see much to tempt him in that direction.'

'Beauty! And Pitt knows he will have money enough; he would not care for that.'

'I do,' said Mr. Dallas, without ceasing to read his paper.

'I would not mind the girl being poor,'

Mrs. Dallas went on, 'for Pitt _will_ have money enough--enough for both; but, Hildebrand, they are incorrigible dissenters, and I do _not_ want Pitt's wife to be of that persuasion.'

'I won't have it, either.'

'Then we shall do well to think how we can prevent it. If we could have somebody here to take up his attention at least'--

'Preoccupy the ground,' said Mr. Dallas. 'The colonel would say that is good strategy.'

'I do not mean strategy,' said Mrs. Dallas. 'I want Pitt to fancy a woman proper for him, in every respect.'

'Exactly. Have you one in your eye? Here in America it is difficult.'

'I was thinking of Betty Frere.'

'Humph! If she could catch him,--she might do.'

'She has no money; but she has family, and beauty.'

'You understand these things better than I do,' said Mr. Dallas, half amused, half sharing his wife's anxiety. 'Would she make a comfortable daughter-in-law for you?'

'That is secondary,' said Mrs. Dallas, still with a raised brow, knitting her scarlet and blue with out knowing what colour went through her fingers. Perhaps her husband's tone had implied doubt.

'If she can catch him,' Mr. Dallas repeated. 'There is no calculating on these things. Cupid's arrows fly wild--for the most part.'


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