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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

While they greatly delighted Esther


ended what he had to say about his uncle and his house, and there was a little pause. Esther half wondered that he did not get up and go away; but there was no sign of that. Pitt sat quietly, thoughtfully, also contentedly, before her, at least so far as appeared; of all his thoughts, not one of them concerned going away. It had begun to be a mixed pleasure to Esther, his being there; for she thought now that he was married he would be taken up with his own home interests, and the friend of other days, if still living, would be entirely lost. And so every look and expression of his which testified to a fine and sweet and strong character, which proved him greatly ennobled and beautified beyond what she had remembered him; and all his words, which showed the gentleman, the man of education and the man of ability; while they greatly delighted Esther, they began oddly to make her feel alone and poor. Still, she would use her opportunity, and make the most of this interview.

'And what are you going to be, Pitt?' she asked, when both of them had been quite still for a few minutes. He turned his face quick towards her with a look of question.

'Now you are a man of property,' said Esther, 'what do you think to do? You were going to read law.'

'I have been reading law for two or three years.'

'And are you going to give it up?'

justify;">'Why should I give it up?'

'The question seems rather, why should you go on with it?'

'Put it so,' he said. 'Ask the question. Why should I go on with it?'

'I _have_ asked the question,' said Esther, laughing. 'You seem to come to me for the answer.'

'I do. What is the answer? Give it, please. Is there any reason why a man who has money enough to live upon should go to the bar?'

'I can think of but one,' said Esther, grave and wondering now. 'Perhaps there is one reason.'

'And that?' said Pitt, without looking at her.

'I can think of but one,' Esther repeated. 'It is not a man's business view, I know, but it is mine. I can think of no reason why, for itself, a man should plunge himself into the strifes and confusions of the law, supposing that he _need_ not, except for the one sake of righting the wrong and delivering the oppressed.'

'That is my view,' said Pitt quietly.

'And is that what you are going to do?' she said with smothered eagerness, and as well a smothered pang.

'I do not propose to be a lawyer merely,' he said, in the same quiet way, not looking at her. 'But I thought it would give me an advantage in the great business of righting the wrong and getting the oppressed go free. So I propose to finish my terms and be called to the bar.'

'Then you will live in England?' said Esther, with a most unaccountable feeling of depression at the thought.

'For the present, probably. Wherever I can do my work best.'

'Your work? That is--?'

'Do you ask me?' said he, now looking at her with a very bright and sweet smile. The sweetness of it was so unlike the Pitt Dallas she used to know, that Esther was confounded. 'Do you ask me? What should be the work in life of one who was once a slave and is now Christ's freeman?'

Esther looked at him speechless.

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