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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

''But you read it piecemeal so


can you find to do in this weather, Mr. Pitt?' she asked languidly.

'It is good weather,' he answered absently. 'Do you ever read the Bible?'

Miss Betty's fine eyes were lifted now with an expression of some amusement. They were very fine eyes; Mrs. Dallas thought they could not fail of their effect.

'The Bible?' she repeated. 'I read the lessons in the Prayer-book; that is the same.'

'Is it the same? Is the whole Bible contained in the lessons?'

'I don't know, I am sure,' she answered doubtfully. 'I think so. There is a great deal of it.'

'But you read it piecemeal so.'

'You must read it piecemeal any way,' returned the young lady. 'You can read only a little each day; a portion.'

'You could read consecutively, though, or you could choose for yourself.'

'I like to have the choice made for me. It saves time; and then one is sure one has got hold of the right portion, you know. I like the lessons.'

'And then,' remarked Mrs. Dallas, 'you know other people and your friends are reading that same portion at the same time, and the feeling is very sacred and sweet.'

'But if the Bible was intended to be read

in such a way, how comes it that we have no instruction to that end?'

'Instruction was given,' said Mrs. Dallas. 'The Church has ordered it.'

'The Church' said Pitt thoughtfully. 'Who is the Church?'

'Why, my dear,' said Mrs. Dallas, 'don't ask such questions. You know as well as I do.'

'As I understand it, mother, what you mean is simply a body of Christians who lived some time ago.'

'Yes. Well, what then?'

'I do not comprehend how they should know what you and I want to read to-day. I am not talking of Church services. I am talking of private reading.'

'But it is pleasant and convenient,' said Betty.

'May be very inappropriate.'

'Pitt,' said his mother, 'I wish you would not talk so! It is really very wrong. This comes of your way of questioning and reasoning about everything. What we have to do with the Church is to _obey_.'

'And that is what we have to do with the Bible, isn't it?' he said gravely.


'Well, mother, I am not talking to you; I am attacking Miss Frere. I can talk to her on even terms. Miss Frere, I want to know what you understand by obeying, when we are speaking of the demands of the Bible?'

'Obeying? I understand just what I mean by it anywhere.'

'Obeying what?'

'Why, obeying God, of course.'

'Of course! But how do we know what His commands are?'

'By the words--how else?' she asked, looking at him. He was in earnest, for some reason, she saw, and she forbore from the light words with which at another time she would have given a turn to the subject.

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