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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And spread the map out before Miss Frere


'I do not mean Westminster Abbey.'

'What then, please?'

'I cannot tell you here,' said Pitt smiling, as the horses, having found firm ground, set off again at a gay trot. 'Wait till we get home, and I will show you a map of London.'

The young lady, satisfied with having gained her object, waited very patiently, and told Mrs. Dallas on reaching home that the drive had been delightful.

Next day Pitt was as good as his word. He brought his map of London into the cool matted room where the ladies were sitting, rolled up a table, and spread the map out before Miss Frere. The young lady dropped her embroidery and gave her attention.

'What have you there, Pitt?' his mother inquired.

'London, mamma.'

'London?' Mrs. Dallas drew up her chair too, where she could look on; while Pitt briefly gave an explanation of the map; showed where was the 'City' and where the fashionable quarter.

'I suppose,' said Miss Frere, studying the map, 'the parts of London that delight you are over here?' indicating the West End.

'No,' returned Pitt, 'by no means. The City and the Strand are infinitely more interesting.'

'My dear,' said his mother, 'I do not see how that can be.'

'It is true, though, mother. All this,' drawing his finger round a certain portion of the map, 'is crowded with the witnesses of human life and history; full of remains that tell of the men of the past, and their doings, and their sufferings.'

Miss Frere's fine eyes were lifted to him in inquiry; meeting them, he smiled, and went on.

'I must explain. Where shall I begin? Suppose, for instance, we take our stand here at Whitehall. We are looking at the Banqueting House of the Palace, built by Inigo Jones for James I. The other buildings of the palace, wide and splendid as they were, have mostly perished. This stands yet. I need not tell you the thoughts that come up as we look at it.'

'Charles I was executed there, I know. What else?'

'There is a whole swarm of memories, and a whole crowd of images, belonging to the palace of which this was a part. Before the time you speak of, there was Cardinal Wolsey'--

'Oh, Wolsey! I remember.'

'His outrageous luxury and pomp of living, and his disgrace. Then comes Henry VIII., and Anne Boleyn, and their marriage; Henry's splendours, and his death. All that was here. In those days the buildings of Whitehall were very extensive, and they were further enlarged afterwards. Here Elizabeth held her court, and here she lay in state after death. James I comes next; he built the Banqueting House. And in his son's time, the royal magnificence displayed at Whitehall was incomparable. All the gaieties and splendours and luxury of living that then were possible, were known here. And here was the scaffold where he died. The next figure is Cromwell's.'


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