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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

''Neither ought to be independent of the other


'You

remember,' he said, 'the Lord's word--"This is my commandment, that ye love one another, _as I have loved you_." And then He immediately gave the gauge and measure of that love, the greatest possible,--"that a man _lay down his life for his friends_."'

'And you mean--?'

'Only that, Queen Esther. I reckon that my life is the Lord's, and that the only use of it is to do His work. I will study law for that, and practise as I may have occasion; and for that I will use all the means He may give me: so far as I can, to "break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free;" to "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils," so far as I may. Surely it is the least I can do for my Master.'

Pitt spoke quietly, gravely, with the light of a settled purpose in his eye, and also with the peace of a fixed joy in his face. Indeed, his face said more than his words, to Esther who knew him and it; she read there the truth of what he said, and that it was no phantasy of passing enthusiasm, but a lifelong choice, grave and glad, of which he was telling her. With a sudden movement she stretched out her hand to him, which he eagerly clasped, and their hands lay so in each other for a minute, without other speech than that of the close-held fingers. Esther's other hand, however, had covered her eyes.

'What is the matter, Queen Esther?' said Pitt,

seeing this.

'I am so glad--so glad!--and so sorry!' Esther took down her hand; she was not crying. 'Glad for you,--and sorry that there are so very few who feel as you do. Oh, how very strange it is!'

He still held her other hand.

'Yes,' he said thoughtfully, 'it is strange. What do you think of the old word in the Bible, that it is not good for man to be alone?'

'I suppose it is true,' said Esther, withdrawing her hand. 'Now,' she thought, 'he is going to tell me about his bride and his marriage.' And she rather wished she could be spared that special communication. At the same time, the wondering speculation seized her again, whether Betty Frere, as she had seen her, was likely to prove a good helpmeet for this man.

'You suppose it is true? There can be no doubt about that, I think, for the man. How is it for the woman?'

'I have never studied the question,' said Esther. 'By what people say, the man is the more independent of the two when he is young, and the woman when she is old.'

'Neither ought to be independent of the other!'

'They seldom are,' said Esther, feeling inclined to laugh, although not in the least merry. Pitt was silent a few minutes, evidently revolving something in his mind.

'You said you had two rooms unoccupied,' he began at last. 'I want to be some little time in New York yet; will you let me move into them?'


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