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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Dallas had begun by way of experiment


'The

study of animal psychology, so far as I know, has never been carried into a system. Meanwhile, suppose we come from what I cannot teach, to what I can? Here's a Latin grammar for you.'

Esther came to his side immediately, and listened with grave attention to his explanations and directions.

'And you want me to learn these declensions?'

'It is a necessary preliminary to learning Latin.'

Esther took the book with a very awakened and contented face; then put a sudden irrelevant question. 'Pitt, why didn't you tell Mrs. Dallas what you were going to teach me?'

The young man looked at her, somewhat amused, but not immediately ready with an answer.

'Wouldn't she like you to give me lessons?'

'I never asked her,' he answered gravely.

Esther looked at him, inquiring and uncertain.

'I never asked her whether I might take lessons from your father, either.'

'No, of course not; but'--

'But what?'

'I don't know. I don't want to do it if she would not like it.'

'Why shouldn't she like it? She has nothing to do with it. It is I who am going to give

you the lessons, not she. And now for a lesson in botany.'

He brought out a quantity of his dried flowers, beautifully preserved and arranged; and showed Esther one or two groups of plants, giving her various initiatory instruction by the way. It was a most delightful half hour to the little girl; and she went home after it, with her Latin grammar in her hands, very much aroused and wakened up and cheered from her dull condition of despondency; just what Pitt had intended.

CHAPTER V.

_CONTAMINATION_.

The lessons went on, and the interest on both sides knew no flagging. Dallas had begun by way of experiment, and he was quite contented with his success. In his room, over Latin and botany, at her own home, over history and the boxes of coins, he and Esther daily spent a good deal of time together. They were pleasant enough hours to him; but to her they were sources of life-giving nourishment and delight. The girl had been leading a forlorn existence; mentally in a desert and alone; and, added to that, with an unappeased longing for her departed mother, and silent, quiet, wearing grief for the loss of her. Even now, her features often settled into the dulness which had so struck Dallas; but gradually there was a lightening and lifting of the cloud: when studying she was wholly intent on her business, and when talking or reciting or examining flowers there was a play of life and thought and feeling in her face which was a constant study to her young teacher, as well as pleasure,


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