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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Esther had no need to beg Pitt to come often


old life began again now in good measure. Esther had no need to beg Pitt to come often; he came constantly. He took up her lessons, as of old, and carried them on vigorously; rightly thinking that good sound mental work was wholesome for the child. He joined her in drawing, and begged the colonel to give him instruction too; and they studied the coins in the boxes with fresh zeal. And they had glorious walks, and most delightful botanizing, in the early summer mornings, or when the sun had got low in the western sky. Sometimes Pitt came with a little tax-cart and took Esther a drive. It was all delight; I cannot tell which thing gave her most pleasure. To study with Pitt, or to play with Pitt, one was as good as the other; and the summer days of that summer were not fuller of fruit-ripening sun, than of blessed, warm, healthy, and happy influences for this little human plant. Her face grew bright and joyous, though in moments when the talk took a certain sober tone Pitt could see the light or the shadow, he hardly knew which to call it, of that too early spiritual insight and activity come over it.

One day, soon after his arrival, he asked her what she had been thinking about so much. They were sitting on the verandah again, to be out of the way of the colonel; they were taking up lessons, and had just finished an examination in history. Pitt let the book fall.

'You said the other day, Queen Esther, that you

were under the necessity of thinking. May I ask what you have been thinking about?'

'Did I say that?'

'Something like it.'

Esther's face became sober. 'Everybody must think, I suppose, Pitt?'

'That is a piece of your innocence. A great many people get along quite comfortably without doing any thinking at all.'

'One might as well be a squash,' said Esther gravely. 'I don't see how they can live so.'

'Some people think too much.'


'I don't know why, I am sure. It's their nature, I suppose.'

'What harm, Pitt?'

'You keep a fire going anywhere, and it will burn up what is next to it.'

'Is thought like fire?'

'So far, it is. What were you thinking about, Queen Esther?'

'I had been wanting to ask you about it, Pitt,' the girl said, a little with the air of one who is rousing herself up to give a confidence. 'I was looking for something and I did not know where to find it.'

'Looking for what?'

'I remembered, mamma said people could always find comfort in the Bible; but I did not know how to look for it.'

'Comfort, Queen Esther!' said Pitt, rousing himself now; 'you were not in want of that article, were you?'

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