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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

' said the colonel a little bitterly


'What

advantages, papa? I do not understand. You spoke of that before.'

'Yes,' said the colonel a little bitterly, 'in that particular my stepmother was right. You little know the social disabilities under which those lie in England who do not belong to the Established Church. For policy, nobody should be a Dissenter.'

'Dissenter?' echoed Esther, the word awaking a long train of old associations; and for a moment her thoughts wandered back to them.

'Yes,' the colonel went on; 'my father bade me follow him; but with more than equal right I called on him to follow a long line of ancestors. Rather hundreds than one!'

'Papa, in such a matter surely conscience is the only thing to follow,' said Esther softly. 'You do not think a man ought to be either Independent or Church of England, just because his fathers have set him the example?'

'You do not think example and inheritance are anything?' said the colonel.

'I think they are everything, for the right;--most precious!--but they cannot decide the right. _That_ a man must do for himself, must he not?'

'Republican doctrine!' said the colonel bitterly. 'I suppose, after I am gone, you will become a Church of England woman, just to prove to yourself and others that you are not influenced by me!'

style="text-align: justify;">'Papa,' said Esther, half laughing, 'I do not think that is at all likely; and I am sure you do not. And so that was the reason you came away?'

'I could not stay there,' said the colonel, 'and see my young brother in my place, and his mother ruling where your mother should by right have ruled. They did not love me either,--why should they?--and I felt more a stranger there than anywhere else. So I took the little property that came to me from my mother, to which my father in his will had made a small addition, and left England and home for ever.'

There was a pause of some length.

'Who is left there now, of the family?' Esther asked.

'I have not heard.'

'Do they never write to you?'

'Never.'

'Nor you to them, papa?'

'No. Since I came away there has been no intercourse whatever between our families.'

'Oh, papa!'

'I am inclined to regret it now, for your sake.'

'I am not thinking of that. But, papa, it must be sixteen or seventeen years now; isn't it?'

'Something like so much.'

'Oh, papa, do write to them! do write to them, and make it up. Do not let the quarrel last any longer.'


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