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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Dallas presently repeated her question


'But,

my dear,' said Mrs. Dallas eagerly, 'you exaggerate things.'

'Which things, mother?'

'It is not necessary for you to be unlike the world; that is extravagance.'

Pitt rose, went to the table, where a large family Bible and Book of Common Prayer lay, and fetched the Bible to the breakfast-table. During which procedure Mr. Dallas shoved his chair round again, to gain his former position, and Mrs. Dallas passed her hand over her eyes once or twice, with her a gesture of extreme disturbance. Pitt brought his book, opened it on the table before him, and after a little turning of the leaves stopped and read the following:

'"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."'

'Yes, _at that time_,' said Mrs. Dallas eagerly,--'at that time. Then the heathen made great opposition. All that is past now.'

'Was it only the heathen, mother?'

'Well, the Jews, of course. They were as bad.'

'Why were they? Just for this reason, that they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. They chose this world. But the apostle James,--here it is,--he wrote:

'"Whosoever will

be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God."'

'Wouldn't you then be a friend of the world, Pitt?' his mother asked reprovingly.

'I should say,' Mr. Dallas remarked with an amused, indifferent tone,--'I should say that Pitt had been attending a conventicle; only at Oxford that is hardly possible.'

The young man made no answer to either speaker; he remained with his head bent down over the Bible, and a face almost stern in its gravity. Mrs. Dallas presently repeated her question.

'Pitt, would you not be a friend to the world?'

'That is the question, mother,' he said, lifting his face to look at her. 'I thought it right to tell you all this, that you may know just where I stand. Of course I have thought of the question of a profession; but this other comes first, and I feel it ought first to be decided.'

With which utterance the young man rose, put the big Bible in its place, and left the room.

CHAPTER XXIII.

_A DEBATE_.

The two who were left sat still for a few moments, without speaking. Mrs. Dallas once again made that gesture of her hand across her brow.

'You need not disturb yourself, wife,' said her husband presently. 'Young men must have a turn at being fools, once in a way. It is not much in Pitt's way; but, however, it seems his turn has come. There are worse types of the disorder. I would rather have this Puritan scruple to deal with than some other things. The religious craze passes off easier than a fancy for drinking or gambling; it is hot while it lasts, but it is easier to cure.'


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