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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And Pitt met her inquiring eyes with a steady


'In

another connection. You remember you used to talk to me pretty freely last summer about your new views and plans of life?'

'I remember. But my staircase?'--

'Yes, your staircase. You know it is rich and stately, as well as beautiful. Whatever it signifies to you, to my lower vision it means a position in the world and the means to maintain it. And I debated with myself, as I went up the stairs, whether the owner of all this would _still_ think it his duty to live altogether for others, and not for himself like common people.'

She looked at him, and Pitt met her inquiring eyes with a steady, penetrating, grave look, which half made her wish she had let the question alone. He delayed his answer a little, and then he said,--

'Will you let me meet that doubt in my own way?'

'Certainly!' said Betty, surprised; 'if you will forgive me its arising.'

'Is one responsible for doubts? One _may_ be responsible for the state of mind from which they spring. Then, if you will allow me, I will say no more on the subject for a day or two. But I will not leave you unanswered; that is, unless you refuse to submit to my guidance, and will not let me take my own way.'

'You are mysterious!'

'Will you go with me when I ask you?'

style="text-align: justify;">'Yes.'

'Then that is sufficient.'

Betty thought she had not gained much by her move.

The next day was given to the Tower. Mrs. Dallas did not go; her husband was of the party instead. The inspection of the place was thorough, and occupied some hours; Pitt, being able, through an old friend of Mr. Strahan's who was now also _his_ friend, to obtain an order from the Constable for seeing the whole. At dinner Betty delivered herself of her opinion.

'Were you busy all day with nothing but the Tower? asked Mrs. Dallas.

'Stopped for luncheon,' said her husband.

'And we did our work thoroughly, mamma,' added Pitt. 'You must take time, if you want to see anything.'

'Well,' said Betty, 'I must say, if this is what it means, to live in an old country, I am thankful I live in a new one.'

'What now?' asked Mr. Dallas. 'What's the matter?'

'Mrs. Dallas was wiser, that she did not go,' Betty went on. '"I have supped fall of horrors." Really I have read history, but that gives it to one diluted. I had no notion that the English people were so savage.'

'Come, come! no worse than other people,' Mr. Dallas put in.

'I do not know how it is with other people. I am thankful we have no such monument in America. I shouldn't think snow would lie on the Tower!'

'Doesn't often,' said Pitt.

'Think, Mrs. Dallas! I stood in that little chapel there,--the prisoners' chapel,--and beneath the pavement lay between thirty and forty people, the remains of them, who lay there with their heads separated from their bodies; and some of them with no heads at all. The heads had been set up on London bridge, or on Temple Bar, or some other dreadful place. And then as we went round I was told that here was the spot where Lady Jane Grey was beheaded; and there was the window from which she saw the headless body of her husband carried by; and _there_ stood the rack on which Anne Askew was tortured; and there was the prison where Arabella Stuart died insane; and here was the axe which used to be carried before the Lieutenant when he took a prisoner to his trial, and was carried before the prisoner when he returned, mostly with the sharp edge turned towards him. I do not see how people used to live in those times. There are Anne Boleyn and her brother, Lady Jane Grey and her husband, and other Dudleys innumerable'--


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