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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

' said Esther a little doubtfully


she said at last, 'those partridge berries ought not to be in it.'

'Why not?' said Pitt, in astonishment. 'I think they set it off capitally.'

'Oh, so they do. I didn't mean that. They are beautiful, very. But you know what you said about them.'

'What did I say?'

'You said they were poison.'

'Poison! What then, Queen Esther? they won't hurt anybody up there. No partridge will get at them.'

'Oh no, it isn't that, Pitt; but I was thinking--Poison shouldn't be in that message of the angels.'

Pitt's face lighted up.

'Queen Esther,' said he solemnly, 'are you going to be _that_ sort of person?'

'What sort of person?'

'One of those whose spirits are attuned to finer issues than their neighbours? They are the stuff that poets are made of. You are not a poet, are you?'

'No, indeed!' said Esther, laughing.

'Don't! I think it must be uncomfortable to have to do with a poet. You may notice, that in nature the dwellers on the earth have nothing to do with the dwellers in the air.'

'Except to be food for them,' said Esther.

justify;">'Ah! Well,--leaving that,--I should never have thought about the partridge berries in that motto, and my mother would never have thought of it. For all that, you are right. What shall we do? take 'em down?'

'Oh, no, they look so pretty. And besides, I suppose, Pitt, by and by, poison itself will turn to peace.'

'What?' said Pitt. 'What is that? What can you mean, Queen Esther?'

'Only,' said Esther a little doubtfully, 'I was thinking. You know, when the time comes there will be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the earth; the wild beasts will not be wild, and so I suppose poison will not be poison.'

'The wild beasts will not be wild? What _will_ they be, then?'


'Where did you get that idea?'

'It is in the Bible. It is not an idea.'

'Are you sure?'

'Certainly. Mamma used to read it to me and tell me about it.'

'Well, you shall show _me_ the place some time. How do you like it, mother?'

This question being addressed to Mrs. Dallas, who appeared in the doorway. She gave great approval.

'Do you like the effect of the partridge berries?' Pitt asked.

'It is excellent, I think. They brighten it up finely.'

'What would you say if you knew they were poison?'

'That would not make any difference. They do no hurt unless you swallow them, I suppose.'

'Esther finds in them an emblem of the time when the message of peace shall have neutralized all the hurtful things in the world, and made them harmless.'

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