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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

'The elder Dallas caressed his whiskers and pondered


'Not

much danger!'

'I don't know.'

'Who's to put them in his head? Gainsborough is not a bit of a radical.'

'He is not one of us,' said Mrs. Dallas. 'And Pitt is very independent, and takes his own views from nobody or from anybody. See his educating this girl, now.'

'Educating her!'

'Yes, he is with her and her father a great piece of every day; reading and talking and walking and drying flowers and giving lessons. I don't know what all they are doing. But in my opinion Pitt might be better employed.'

'That won't last,' said the father with a half laugh.

'What ought not to last, had better not be begun,' Mrs. Dallas said sententiously.

There was a pause.

'What are you afraid of, wife?'

'I am afraid of Pitt's wasting his time.'

'You have never been willing to have him go until now. I thought you stood in the way.'

'He was not wasting his time until lately. He was as well at home. But there must come an end to that,' the mother said, with another slight sigh. She was not a woman given to sighing; it meant much from her.

'But England?' said

Mr. Dallas. 'What's your notion about England? Oxford is very well, but the ocean lies between.'

'Where would _you_ send him?'

'I'd send him to the best there is on this side.'

'That's not Oxford. I believe it would be good for him to be out of this country for a while; forget some of his American notions, and get right English ones. Pitt is a little too independent.'

The elder Dallas caressed his whiskers and pondered. If the truth were told, he had been about as unwilling to let his son go away from home as ever his mother could be. Pitt was simply the delight and pride of both their hearts; the one thing they lived for; the centre of all hopes, and the end of all undertakings. No doubt he must go to college; but the evil day had been pushed far off, as far as possible. Pitt was a son for parents to be proud of. He had the good qualities of both father and mother, with some added of his own which they did not share, and which perhaps therefore increased their interest in him.

'I expect he will have a word to say about the matter himself,' the father remarked. 'Oh, well! there's no raging hurry, wife.'

'Husband, it would be a good thing for him to see the English Church as it is in England, before he gets much older.'

'What then?'

'He would learn to value it. The cathedrals, and the noble services in them, and the bishops; and the feeling that everybody around him goes the same way; there's a great deal of power in that. Pitt would be impressed by it.'

'By the feeling that everybody around him goes that way? Not he. That's quite as likely to stir him up to go another way.'


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