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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Pitt was very sure she had not


As

for Pitt, he had fallen upon a new world, and was busily finding his feet, as it were. Finding his own place, among all these other aspirants for human distinction; testing his own strength, among the combatants in this wrestling school of human life; earning his laurels in the race for learning; making good his standing and trying his power amid the waves and currents of human influence. Pitt found his standing good, and his strength quite equal to the call for it, and his power dominating. At least it would have been dominating, if he had cared to rule; all he cared for, as it happened, in that line, was to be independent and keep his own course. He had done that always at home, and he found no difficulty in doing it at college. For the rest, his abilities were unquestioned, and put him at once at the head of his fellows.

CHAPTER VII.

_COMING HOME_.

Without being at all an unfaithful friend, it must be confessed Pitt's mind during this time was full of the things pertaining to his own new life, and he thought little of Esther. He thought little of anybody; he was not at a sentimental age, nor at all of a sentimental disposition, and he had enough else to occupy him. It was not till he had put the college behind him, and was on his journey home, that Esther's image rose before his mental vision; the first time perhaps for months. It smote

him then with a little feeling of compunction. He recollected the child's sensitive nature, her clinging to him, her lonely condition; and the grave, sad eyes seemed to reproach him with having forgotten her. He had not forgotten her; he had only not remembered. He might have taken time to write her one little letter; but he had not thought of it. Had she ceased to think of _him_ in any corresponding way? Pitt was very sure she had not. Somehow his fancy was very busy with Esther during this journey home. He was making amends for months of neglect. Her delicate, tender, faithful image seemed to stand before him;--forgetfulness would never be charged upon Esther, nor carelessness of anything she ought to care for;--of that he was sure. He was quite ashamed of himself, that he had sent her never a little token of remembrance in all this time. He recalled the girl's eagerness in study, her delight in learning, her modest, well-bred manner; her evident though unconscious loving devotion to himself, and her profound grief at his going away. There were very noble qualities in that young girl that would develop--into what might they develop? and how would those beautiful thoughtful eyes look from a woman's soul by and by? Had his mother complied with his request and shown any kindness to the child? Pitt had no special encouragement to think so. And what a life it must be for such a creature, at twelve years old, to be alone with that taciturn, reserved, hypochondriac colonel?


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