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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

I never could see the least attractiveness in coins


'What

is to become of all these things?' she asked, pursuing her thoughts.

'They will be safe here till I return.'

'But I mean-- You do not understand me. I was thinking rather, what would become of all the tastes and likings to which they bear evidence? How do they match with your new views of things?'

'How do they not match?' said Pitt, stopping short.

'You spoke of giving up all things, did you not?'

'The Bible does,' said Pitt, smiling. 'But that is, _if need be_ for the service or honour of God. Did you think they were to be renounced in all cases?'

'Then what did you mean?'

'The Bible means, evidently, that we are to be so minded, toward them and toward God, that we are ready to give them up and do give them up just so far and so fast as His service calls for it. That is all, and it is enough!'

Betty watched him a little longer, and then began again.

'You say, it is to be the business of your life to--well, how shall I put it?--to set people right, in short. Why don't you begin at the beginning, and attack me?'

'I don't know how to point my guns.'

'Why? Do you think me such a hard case?'

justify;">He hesitated, and said 'Yes.'

'Why?' she asked again, with a mixture of mortification and curiosity.

'Your defences have withstood all I have been able to bring to bear in the shape of ordnance.'

'Why do you say that? I have been very much interested in all I have heard you say.'

'I know that; and not in the least moved.'

Betty was vexed. Had her tactics failed so utterly? Did Pitt think she was a person quite and irremediably out of his plane, and inaccessible to the interests which he ranked first of all? She had wanted to get nearer to him. Had she so failed? She would not let the tears come into her eyes, but they were ready, if she would have let them.

'So you give me up!' she said.

'I have no alternative.'

'You have lost all hope of me?'

'No. But at present your eyes are so set in another direction that you will not look the way I have been pointing you. Of course, you do not see what I see.'

'In what direction are my eyes so set?'

'I will not presume to tell Miss Frere what she knows so much better than I do.'

Betty bit her lip.

'What is in that cabinet?' she asked suddenly.

'Coins.'

'Oh, coins! I never could see the least attractiveness in coins.'

'That was because--like some other things--they were not looked at.'

'Well, what _is_ the interest of them?'

'To find out, I am afraid you must give them your attention. They are like witnesses, stepping out from the darkness of the past and telling the history of it--history in which they moved and had a part, you understand.'

'But the history of the past is not so delightful, is it, that one would care much about hearing the witnesses? What is in that other cabinet, where you are standing?'


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