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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

When she had an opportunity to talk to Pitt alone


'I

admired Inigo Jones all the way up-stairs,' she said, when she had an opportunity to talk to Pitt alone. Mr. Dallas had gone to sleep after dinner, and his wife was knitting at a sufficient distance. 'The quaint fancies and delicate work are really such as I never imagined before in wood-carving. But your words about it remain a puzzle to me.'

'My words? About art being an expression of truth? Surely that is not new?'

'It may be very old; but I do not understand it.'

'You understand, that so far as art is genuine, it is a setter forth of truth?'

'Well, I suppose so; of some truth. Roses must be roses, and trees must be trees; and of course must look as like the reality as possible.'

'That is the very lowest thing art can do, and in some cases is not true art at all. Her business is to tell truth--never to deceive.'

'What sort of truth then?'

'What I said; spiritual and moral.'

'Ah, there it is! Now you have got back to it. Now you are talking mystery, or--forgive me--transcendentalism.'

'No; nothing but simple and very plain fact. It is this first,--that all truth is one; and this next,--that in the world of creation things material are the expression of things spiritual.

So all real beauty in form or colour has back of it a greater beauty of higher degree.'

'You are talking pure mystery.'

'No, surely,' said Pitt eagerly. 'You certainly recognise the truth of what I am saying, in some things. For instance, you cannot look up steadily into the blue infinity of one of our American skies on a clear day--at least _I_ cannot--without presently getting the impression of truth, pure, unfailing, incorruptible truth, in its Creator. The rose, everywhere in the world, so far as I know, is the accepted emblem of love. And for another very familiar instance,--Christ is called in the Bible the Sun of righteousness--the Light that is the life of man. Do you know how close to fact that is? What this earth would be if deprived of the sun for a few days, is but a true image of the condition of any soul finally forsaken by the Sun of righteousness. In one word, death; and that is what the Bible means by death, of which the death we commonly speak of is again but a faint image.'

Betty fidgeted a little; this was not what she wished to speak of; it was getting away from her point.

'Your staircase set me wondering about _you_,' she said boldly, not answering his speech at all.

'In yet another connection?' said Pitt, smiling.


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