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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

''You do not mean that uncle Strahan is dead


'I

thought we should have seen you last night. My letter was in time. Didn't you get it?'

'It went to my chambers in the Temple; and I was not there.'

'Where were you?'

'At Kensington.'

'At Kensington! With Mr. Strahan.'

'Not with Mr. Strahan,' said Pitt gravely. 'I have been with him a great deal these last weeks. You got my letter in which I told you he was ill?'

'Yes, and that you were nursing him.'

'Then you did _not_ get my letter telling of the end of his illness? You left home before it arrived.'

'You do not mean that uncle Strahan is dead?'

'It is a month ago, and more. But there is nothing to regret, mother. He died perfectly happy.'

Mrs. Dallas passed over this sentence, which she did not like, and asked abruptly,--

'Then what were you doing at Kensington?'

'There was business. I have been obliged to give some time to it. You will be as much surprised as I was, to learn that my old uncle has left all he had in the world to me.'

'To you!' Mrs. Dallas did not utter a scream of delight, or embrace her son, or do anything that

many women would have done in honour of the occasion; but her head took a little loftier set upon her shoulders, and in her cheeks rose a very pretty rosy flush.

'I am not surprised in the least,' she said. 'I do not see how he could have done anything else; but I did not know the old gentleman had so much sense, for all that. Is the property large?'

'Rather large.'

'My dear, I am very glad. That makes you independent at once. I do not know whether I ought to be glad of that; but you would never be led off from any line of conduct you thought fit to enter, by either having or wanting money.'

'I hope not. It is not _high_ praise to say that I am not mercenary. Who was thinking to bribe me? and to what?'

'Never mind,' said Mrs. Dallas hastily. 'Was not the house at Kensington part of the property?'

'Certainly.'

'And has that come to you too?'

'Yes, of course; just as it stood. I was going to ask if you would not move in and take possession?'

'Take possession!--we?'

'Yes, mother; it is all ready. The old servants are there, and will take very passably good care of you. Mrs. Bunce can cook a chop, and boil an egg, and make a piece of toast; let me see, what else can she do? Everything that my old uncle liked, I know; beyond that, I cannot say how far her power extends. But I think she can make you comfortable.'

'My dear, aren't you going to let the house?'

'No, mother.'

'Why not? You cannot live in chambers and there too?'

'I can never let the house. In the first place, it is too full of things which have all of them more or less value, many of them _more_. In the second place, the old servants have their home there, and will always have it.'


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