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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Dallas was very deeply disturbed


'Then

you think all the people who fill our churches are no Christians!'

'I say nothing about the people who fill our churches.'

Pitt rose here.

'But, Mr. Dallas, how can all the world be so mistaken? Our clergymen, our bishops, do not preach such doctrine as you do, if I understand you.'

'That has been a great puzzle to me,' he said.

'Is it not enough to make you doubt?'

'Can I question the words I have read to you?'

'No, but perhaps your interpretation of them.'

'When you have got down to the simplest possible English, there is no room that I see for interpretation. "Follow me" can mean nothing but "follow me;" and "forsaking all" is not a doubtful expression.'

The discussion would probably have gone on still further, but the elder Dallas's step was heard in the house, and Pitt went away with his book.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

_A STAND_.

Mrs. Dallas was very deeply disturbed. She saw in these strange views of Pitt's all sorts of possible dangers to what she had hoped would be his future career in life. Even granting that they were a youthful

folly and would pass away, how soon would they pass away? and in the meantime what chances Pitt might lose, what time might be wasted, what fatal damage his prospects might suffer! And Pitt held a thing so fast when he had once taken it up. Almost her only hope lay in Betty's influence.

Betty herself was disturbed, much more than she cared to have known. If _this_ fascination got hold of Pitt, she knew very well he would, for the time at least, be open to no other. Her ordinary power would be gone; he would see in her nothing but a talking machine with whom he could discuss things. It was not speculation merely that busied his thoughts now, she could see; not mere philosophy, or study of human nature; Pitt was carrying all these Bible words in upon himself, comparing them with himself, and working away at the discrepancy. Something that he called conscience was engaged, and restless. Betty saw that there was but one thing left for her to do. Diversion was not possible; she could not hope to turn Pitt aside from his quest after truth; she must seem to take part in it, and so gain her advantage from what threatened to be her discomfiture.

The result of all which was, that after this there came to be a great deal of talk between the two upon Bible subjects, intermingled with not a little reading aloud from the Bible itself. This was at Betty's instance, rather than Pitt's. When she could she got him out for a walk or a drive; in the house (and truly, often out of the house too) she threw herself with great apparent interest into the study of the questions that had been started, along with others collateral, and desired to learn and desired to discuss all that could be known about them. So there were, as I said, continual Bible readings, mingled occasionally with references to some old commentary; and Betty and Pitt sat very near together, looking over the same page; and remained long in talk, looking eagerly into one another's eyes. Mrs. Dallas was not satisfied.


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