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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

He went on turning over the coins


'What

does it mean?'

'It means, something like--"Struggle and come out," or "come through,"--literally, "emerge." Our English word comes from it. Colonel Gainsborough does not teach you Latin, then?'

'No,' said Esther, sighing. 'He doesn't teach me much lately, of anything.'

Dallas cast a quick look at the girl, and saw again the expression of quiet hopelessness that had moved him. He went on turning over the coins.

'Do you want to learn Latin?'

'Yes.'

'Why?'

'Why do _you_ want to learn it, Pitt?'

'Well, you see, it is different. I must, you know. But queens are not expected to know the dead languages--not Queen Esther, at any rate.'

'Do you learn them because it is expected of you?'

The young man laughed a little.

'Well, there _are_ other reasons. Now here's a device. Two lions rampant--shield surmounted by a crown; motto, "Sp. nos in Deo." _Let us hope in God_.'

'Whose motto was that?'

'Just what I can't make out. I don't know the shield--which I ought to know; and the reverse of the coin has only some unintelligible letters: D. Gelriae,

1752. Let us try another, Queen Esther. Ha! here's a coin of William and Mary--both their blessed heads and names; and on the reverse a figure three, and the inscription claiming that over Great Britain, _France_ and Ireland, they were "Rex and Regina." Why, this box of coins is a capital place to study history.'

'I don't know history,' Esther said.

'But you are going to know it.'

'Am I? How can I?'

'Read.'

'I don't know what to read. I have just read a little history of England--that's all. Mother gave me that. But when I read, there are so many things I don't know and want to ask about.'

'Ask the colonel.'

'Oh, he doesn't care to be troubled,' the little girl said sadly.

'Ask me.'

'_You!_ But you are not here to ask.'

'True; well, we must see. Ah, here's a pretty thing! See, Esther, here's an elegant crown, really beautiful, with the fleurs de lys of France, and the name of the luckless Louis XVI. "Roi de France and de Navarre" but no date. On the other side, "Isles de France and de Bourbon." These coins seem to belong to European history.'

'There's another box with Greek and Roman coins, and, the names of Roman emperors; but I know _them_ even less still than I do these,' said Esther.

'Your want of knowledge seems to weigh upon your mind, Queen Esther.'

'I can't help it,' said the little girl resignedly.

'Are you sure of that? I am not. Well, I wish I knew who this is.'

He had taken up a very small coin, much less than a three-cent piece, and with the help of a magnifying glass was studying it eagerly.

'Why?' said Esther.


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