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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Dallas had declared she did not want to know it


'I

think, Mrs. Dallas,' she began, one day, 'I cannot stay much longer with you. Probably you and Mr. Dallas may make up your minds to remain here all the winter; I should think you would. If I can hear of somebody going home that I know, I will go, while the season is good.'

Mrs. Dallas roused up, and objected vehemently. Betty persisted.

'I am in a false position here,' she said. 'It was all very well at first; things came about naturally, and it could not be helped; and I am sure I have enjoyed it exceedingly; but, dear Mrs. Dallas, I cannot stay here always, you know. I am ashamed to remember how long it is already.'

'My dear, I am sure my son is delighted to have you,' said Mrs. Dallas, looking at her.

'He is not delighted at all,' said Betty, half laughing. Poor girl, she was not in the least light-hearted; bitterness can laugh as easily as pleasure sometimes. 'He is a very kind friend, and a perfect host; but there is no reason why he should care about my coming or going, you know.'

'Everybody must care to have you come, and be sorry to have you go, Betty.'

'"Everybody" is a general term, ma'am, and always leaves room for important exceptions. I shall have his respect, and my own too, better if I go now.'

'My dear, I cannot have you!'

said Mrs. Dallas uneasily, but afraid to ask a question. 'No, we shall not stay here for the winter. Wait a little longer, Betty, and we will take you down into the country, and make the tour of England. It is more beautiful than you can conceive. Wait till we have seen Westminster Abbey; and then we will go. You can grant me that, my dear?'

Betty did not know how to refuse.

'Has Pitt got over his extravagancies of last year?' the older lady ventured, after a pause.

'I do not think he gets over anything,' said Betty, with inward bitter assurance.

The day came that had been fixed for a visit to the Abbey. Pitt had not been eager to take them there; had rather put it off. He told his mother that one visit to Westminster Abbey was nothing; that two visits were nothing; that a long time and many hours spent in study and enjoyment of the place were necessary before one could so much as begin to know Westminster Abbey. But Mrs. Dallas had declared she did not want to _know_ it; she only desired to see it and see the monuments; and what could be answered to that? So the visit was agreed upon and fixed for this day.

'You did not want to bring us here, because you thought we would not appreciate it?' Betty said to Pitt, in an aside, as they were about entering.

'Nobody can appreciate it who takes it lightly,' he answered.


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