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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Where a somewhat similar line of embroidery was visible


the meanwhile, instead of busying yourself with far-away claims which are no claims, what do you think of paying a little attention to a guest in your own house?'

Pitt lifted his head and seemed to prick up his ears.

'Miss Frere? You wish me to take her to drive? I am willing, mamma.'

'Insensible boy! You ought to be very glad of the privilege.'

'I would rather take you, mother.'

The drive accordingly was proposed that very day; did not, however, come off. It was too hot, Miss Frere said.

She was sitting in the broad verandah at the back of the house, which looked out over the garden. It was an orderly wilderness of cherry trees and apple trees and plum trees, raspberry vines and gooseberry bushes; with marigolds and four o'clocks and love-in-a-puzzle and hollyhocks and daisies and larkspur, and a great many more sweet and homely growths that nobody makes any account of nowadays. Sunlight just now lay glowing upon it, and made the shade of the verandah doubly pleasant, the verandah being further shaded by honeysuckle and trumpet creeper which wreathed round the pillars and stretched up to the eaves, and the scent of the honeysuckle was mingled with the smell of roses which came up from the garden. In this sweet and bowery place Miss Frere was sitting when she declared it

was too hot to drive. She was in an India garden chair, and had her embroidery as usual in her hand. She always had something in her hand. Pitt lingered, languidly contemplating the picture she made.

'It _is_ hot,' he assented.

'When it is hot I keep myself quiet,' she went on. 'You seem to be of another mind.'

'I make no difference for the weather.'

'Don't you? What energy! Then you are always at work?'

'Who said so?'

'I said so, as an inference. When the weather has been cool enough to allow me to take notice, I have noticed that you were busy about something. You tell me now that weather makes no difference.'

'Life is too short to allow weather to cut it shorter,' said Pitt, throwing himself down on a mat. 'I think I have observed that you too always have some work in hand whenever I have seen you.'

'My work amounts to nothing,' said the young lady. 'At least you would say so, I presume.'

'What is it?'

Miss Betty displayed her roll of muslin, on the free portion of which an elegant line of embroidery was slowly growing, multiplying and reproducing its white buds and leaves and twining shoots. Pitt regarded it with an unenlightened eye.

'I am as wise as I was before,' he said.

'Why, look here,' said the young lady, with a slight movement of her little foot calling his attention to the edge of her skirt, where a somewhat similar line of embroidery was visible. 'I am making a border for another gown.'

Pitt's eye went from the one embroidery to the other; he said nothing.

'You are not complimentary,' said Miss Frere.

'I am not yet sure that there is anything to compliment.'

The young lady gave him a full view of her fine eyes for half a second, or perhaps it was only that they took a good look at him.

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