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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

''And the gown must be trimmed


'Don't

you see,' she said, 'that it is economy, and thrift, and all the household virtues? Not having the money to buy trimming, I am manufacturing it.'

'And the gown must be trimmed?'

'Unquestionably! You would not like it so well if it were not.'

'That is possible. The question remains'--

'What question?'

'Whether Life is not worth more than a bit of trimming.'

'Life!' echoed the young lady a little scornfully. 'An hour now and then is not Life.'

'It is the stuff of which Life is made.'

'What is Life good for?'

'That is precisely the weightiest question that can occupy the mind of a philosopher!'

'Are you a philosopher, Mr. Dallas!'

'In so far as a philosopher means a lover of knowledge. A philosopher who has attained unto knowledge, I am not;--that sort of knowledge.'

'You have been studying it?'

'I have been studying it for years.'

'What Life is good for?' said the young lady, with again a lift of her eyes which expressed a little disdain and a little impatience. But she saw Pitt's face with a thoughtful

earnestness upon it; he was not watching her eyes, as he ought to have been. Her somewhat petulant words he answered simply.

'What question of more moment can there be? I am here, a human creature with such and such powers and capacities; I am here for so many years, not numerous; what is the best thing I can do with them and myself?'

'Get all the good out of them you can.'

'Certainly! but you observe that is no answer to my question of "how."'

'Good is pleasure, isn't it?'

'Is it?'

'I think so.'

'Make pleasure lasting, and perhaps I should agree with you. But how can you do that?'

'You cannot do it, that ever I heard. It is not in the nature of things.'

'Then what is the good of pleasure when it is over, and you have given your life for it?'

'Well, if pleasure won't do, take greatness, then.'

'What sort of greatness?' Pitt asked in the same tone. It was the tone of one who had gone over the ground.

'Any sort will do, I suppose,' said Miss Frere, with half a laugh. 'The thing is, I believe, to be great, no matter how. I never had that ambition myself; but that is the idea, isn't it?'

'What is it worth, supposing it gained?'

'People seem to think it is worth a good deal, by the efforts they make and the things they undergo for it.'

'Yes,' said Pitt thoughtfully; 'they pay a great price, and they have their reward. And, I say, what is it worth?'


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