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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

' Pitt went on in the same manner


'What

are you going to be, Pitt?' his father broke in upon some laughing talk that was going on between mother and son.

'To be, sir? I beg your pardon!'

'After you have done with Oxford, or with your college course. You know I intend you to study for a profession. Which profession would you choose?'

Pitt was silent.

'Have you ever thought about it?'

'Yes, sir. I have thought about it.'

'What conclusion did you come to?'

'To none, yet,' the young man answered slowly. 'It must depend.'

'On what?

'Partly,--on what conclusion I come to respecting something else,' Pitt went on in the same manner, which immediately fastened his mother's attention.

'Perhaps you will go on and explain yourself,' said his father. 'It is good that we should understand one another.'

Yet Pitt was silent.

'Is it anything private and secret?' his father asked, half laughing, although with a touch of sharp curiosity in his look.

'Private--not secret,' Pitt answered thoughtfully, too busy with his own thoughts to regard his father's manner. 'At least the conclusion cannot

be secret.'

'It might do no harm to discuss the subject,' said his father, still lightly.

'I cannot see how it would do any good. It is my own affair. And I thought it might be better to wait till the conclusion was reached. However, that may not be for some time; and if you wish'--

'We wish to share in whatever is interesting you, Pitt,' his mother said gently.

'Yes, mother, but at present things are not in any order to please you. You had better wait till I see daylight.'

'Is it a question of marriage?' asked his father suddenly.

'No, sir.'

'A question of Uncle Strahan's wishes?' suggested Mrs. Dallas.

'No, mother.' And then with a little hesitation he went on: 'I have been thinking merely what master I would serve. Upon that would depend, in part, what service I would do;--of course.'

'What master? Mars or Minerva, to wit? or possibly Apollo? Or what was the god who was supposed to preside over the administration of justice? I forget.'

'No, sir. My question was broader.'

'Broader!'

'It was, briefly, the question whether I would serve God or Mammon.'

'I profess I do not understand you now!' said his father.

'You are aware, sir, the world is divided on that question; making two parties. Before going any farther, I had a mind to determine to which of them I would belong. How can a navigator lay his course, unless he knows his goal?'

'But, my boy,' said his mother, now anxiously and perplexedly, 'what do you mean?'

'It amounts to the question, whether I would be a Christian, mother.'

Mr. Dallas slued his chair round, so as to bring his face somewhat out of sight; Mrs. Dallas, obeying the same instinctive impulse, kept hers hidden behind the screen of her coffee-urn, for she would not her son should see in it the effect of his words. Her answer, however, was instantaneous:


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