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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Dallas observing it with a secret smile


'He'll

put you in his will, I expect.'

'I think he will do nothing of the kind. He knows I will have enough.'

'Nobody knows it,' said the older Dallas drily. 'I might lose all _my_ money, for anything you can tell.'

The younger man's eyes flashed with a noble sparkle in them. 'What I say is still true, sir. What is the use of Oxford?'

'Humph!' said his father. 'The use of Oxford is to teach young men of fortune to spend their money elegantly.'

'Or to enable young men who have no fortune to do elegantly without it.'

'There is no doing elegantly without money, and plenty of it,' said the elder man, looking from under lowered eyelids, in a peculiar way he had, at his son. 'Plenty of it, I tell you. You cannot have too much.'

'Money is a good dog.'

'A good _what?_'

'A good servant, sir, I should say. You may see a case occasionally where it has got to be the master.'

'What do you mean by that?'

'A man unable to be anything and spoiled for doing anything worth while, because he has so much of it; a man whose property is so large that he has come to look upon money as the first thing.'

'It

is the first thing and the last thing, I can tell you. Without it, a man has to play second fiddle to somebody else all his life.'

'Do you think there is no independence but that of the purse, sir?'

'Beggarly little use in any other kind. In fact, there is not any other kind, Pitt. What passes for it is just fancy, and struggling to make believe. The really independent man is the man who need not ask anybody else's leave to do anything.'

Pitt let the question drop, and went on with his breakfast, for which he seemed to have a good appetite.

'Your muffins are as good as ever, mother,' he remarked.

Mrs. Dallas, to judge by her face, found nothing in this world so pleasant as to see Pitt eat his breakfast, and nothing in the world so important to do as to furnish him with satisfactory material. Yet she was not a foolish woman, and preserved all the time her somewhat stately presence and manner; it was in little actions and words now and then that this care for her son's indulgence and delight in it made itself manifest. It was manifest enough to the two who sat at breakfast with her; Mr. Dallas observing it with a secret smile, his son with a grateful swelling of the heart, which a glance and a word sometimes conveyed to his mother. Mrs. Dallas's contentment this morning was absolute and unqualified. There could be no doubt what Betty Frere would think, she said to herself. Every quality that ought to grace a young man, she thought she saw embodied before her. The broad brow, and the straight eyebrow, and the firm lips, expressed what was congenial to Mrs. Dallas's soul; a mingling of intelligence and will, well defined, clear and strong; but also sweet. There was thoughtfulness but no shadow in the fine hazel eyes; no cloud on the brow; and the smile when it came was frank and affectionate. His manner pleased Mrs. Dallas infinitely; it had all the finish of the best breeding, and she was able to recognise this.


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