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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

'in Seaforth the sun always shines


'Papa,'

Esther said, half aloud; but she was thinking of a thousand things all at once.

'I'll undertake the colonel,' said he, going back to his drawing, without letting go Esther's hand. 'Colonel Gainsborough is not a man to be persuaded; but I think in this case he will be of my mind.'

He was silent again, and Esther was silent too, with her heart beating, and a quiet feeling of happiness and rest gradually stealing into her heart and filling it; like as the tide at flood comes in upon the empty shore. Whatever her father might think upon the just mooted question, those two hands had found each other, once and for all. Thoughts went roving, aimlessly, meanwhile, as thoughts will, in such a flood-tide of content. Pitt worked on rapidly. Then a word came to Esther's lips.

'Pitt, you have become quite an Englishman, haven't you?'

'No more than you are a Englishwoman.'

'I think, I am rather an American,' said Esther; 'I have lived here nearly all my life.'

'Do you like New York?'

'I was not thinking of New York. Yes, I like it. I think I like any place where my home is.'

'Would you choose your future home rather in Seaforth, or in London? You know, _I_ am at home in both.'

Esther

would not speak the woman's answer that rose to her lips, the immediate response, that where he was would be what she liked best. It flushed in her cheek and it parted her lips, but it came not forth in words. Instead came a cairn question of business.

'What are the arguments on either side?'

'Well,' said Pitt, shaping his 'rock' with bold strokes of the pencil, 'in Seaforth the sun always shines, or that is my recollection of it.'

'Does it not shine in London?'

'No, as a rule.'

Esther thought it did not matter!

'Then, for another consideration, in Seaforth you would never see, I suppose,--almost never,--sights of human distress. There are no poor there.'

'And in London?'

'The distress is before you and all round you; and such distress as I suppose your heart cannot imagine.'

'Then,' said Esther softly, 'as far as _that_ goes, Pitt, it seems to me an argument for living in London.'

He met her eyes with an earnest warm look, of somewhat wistful recognition, intense with his own feeling of the subject, glad in her sympathy, and yet tenderly cognizant of the way the subject would affect her.

'There is one point, among many, on which you and Miss Frere differ,' he said, however, coolly, going back to his drawing.

'She does not like, or would not like, living in London?'

'I beg your pardon! but she would object to your reason for living there.'

Esther was silent; her recollection of Betty quite agreed with this observation.

'You say you have seen her?' Pitt went on presently.

'Yes.'

'And talked with her?'


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