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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

I went down to Gainsborough Manor


But

as soon as the door was opened Pitt knew where he was; for he recognised Barker. She was not the one, however, with whom he wished first to exchange recognitions; so he contented himself with asking in an assured manner for Colonel Gainsborough.

'Yes, sir, he's in,' said Barker doubtfully; as he stood in the doorway she could not see the visitor well. 'Who will I say wants to see him, sir?'

'A gentleman on business.'

Another minute or two, and Pitt stood in the small room which was the colonel's particular room, and was face to face with his old friend. Esther was not there; and without looking at anything Pitt felt in a moment the change that must have come over the fortunes of the family. The place was so small! There did not seem to be room in it for the colonel and him. But the colonel was like himself. They stood and faced each other.

'Have I changed so much, colonel?' he said at last. 'Do you not know me?'

'William Dallas?' said the colonel. 'I know the voice! But yes, you have changed,--you have changed, certainly. It is the difference between the boy and the man. What else it is, I cannot see in this light,--or this darkness. It grows dark early in this room. Sit down. So you have got back at last!'

The greeting was not very cordial, Pitt felt.

justify;">'I have come back, for a time; but I have been home repeatedly before this.'

'So I suppose,' said the colonel drily. 'Of course, hearing nothing of you, I could not be sure how it was.'

'I have looked for you, sir, every time, and almost everywhere.'

'Looked for us? Ha! It is not very difficult to find anybody, when you know where to look.'

'Pardon me, Colonel Gainsborough, that was precisely not my case. I did not know where to look. I have been here for days now, looking, till I was almost in despair; only I knew you must be somewhere, and I would not despair. I have looked for you in America and in England. I went down to Gainsborough Manor, to see if I could hear tidings of you there. Every time that I came home to Seaforth for a visit I took a week of my vacation and came here and hunted New York for you; always in vain.'

'The shortest way would have been to ask your father,' said the colonel, still drily.

'My father? I asked him, and he could tell me nothing. Why did you not leave us some clue by which to find you?'

'Clue?' said the colonel. 'What do you mean by clue? I have not hid myself.'

'But if your friends do not know where you are?'

'Your father could have told you.'

'He did not know your address, sir. I asked him for it repeatedly.'

'Why did he not give it to you?' said the colonel, throwing up his head like a war-horse.


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