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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Pitt had been brought up so too


'Well?--the

conclusion?'

'How can you ask? Some things are self-evident.'

'What do you think that means: "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none"?'

'I don't think it means _that_,' said Betty. 'That you are to give away all you have, till you haven't left yourself an overcoat.'

'Are you sure? Not if somebody else needed it more? That is the question. We come back to the--"Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you." "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." How, do you think, can I best do that in the case of Mrs. Mills and her boy? One thing at a time. Never mind what the Duke of Trefoil may complicate in the future.'

'Raise the dead!' Betty echoed.

'Ay,' he said. 'There are worse deaths than that of the body.'

Betty paused, but Pitt waited.

'If they are to be kept alive in any sense,' she said at last, 'they must be taken out of that hole where they are now.'

'And, as you truly suggest that the number of persons wanting such relief is unlimited, the first thing to be done is to build proper houses for the poor. That is what I have set about.'

'_You_ have!' cried Betty.

justify;">'I cannot do much. True, but that is nothing whatever to the question. I have begun to put up a few houses, which shall be comfortable, easy to keep clean, and rentable for what the industrious poor can afford to pay. That will give sufficient interest for the capital expended, and even allow me, without further outlay, to go on extending my accommodations. Mrs. Mills will move into the first of my new houses, I hope, next month.'

'What have you taken me all this day's expedition for, Mr. Dallas?' Betty asked suddenly. The pain of the thing was pressing her.

'You remember, you asked a question of me; to wit, whether I were minded still as I seemed to be minded last year. I have showed you a fraction of the reasons why I should not have changed, and you have approved them.'

Betty found nothing to answer; it was difficult not to approve them, and yet she hated the conclusion. The conversation was not resumed immediately. All the quiet beauty of the scene around them spoke, to Betty, for a life of ease and luxury; it seemed to say, Keep at a distance from disagreeable things; if want and squalor are in the world, you belong to a different part of the world; let London be London, you stay in Kensington Gardens. Take the good of your advantages, and enjoy them. That this was the noblest view or the justest conclusion, she would not say to herself; but it was the view in which she had been brought up; and the leopard's spots, we know, are persistent. Pitt had been brought up so too; what a tangent he had taken from the even round of society in general! Not to be brought back?

'I see,' she began after a while,--'from my window at your house I see at some distance what looks like a large and fine mansion, amongst trees and pleasure grounds; whose is it?'

'That is Holland House.'

'Holland House! It looks very handsome outside.'

'It is one of the finest houses about London. And it is better inside than outside.'

'You have been inside?'

'A number of times. I am sorry I cannot take you in; but it is not open to strangers.'


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