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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Pitt read the words to himself


'After

you were gone, you know--I hadn't anybody left. And oh, Pitt, are you going to--England?'

'One thing at a time. Tell me about this extraordinary want of comfort, at twelve years old. That is improper, Queen Esther!'

'Why?' she said, casting up to him a pair of such wistful, sensitive, beautiful eyes, that the young man was almost startled.

'People at your age ought to have comfort enough to give away to other people.'

'I shouldn't think they could, always,' said Esther quaintly.

'What is the matter with you?'

Esther looked down, a little uneasily. She felt that Pitt ought to have known. And he did know; however, he thought it advisable to have things brought out into the full light and put into form; hoping they might so be easier dealt with. Esther's next words were hardly consecutive, although perfectly intelligible.

'I know, of course, you cannot stay here always.'

'Of course. But then I shall always be coming back.'

Esther sighed. She was thinking that the absences were long and the times of being at home short; but what was the use of talking about it? That lesson, that words do not change the inevitable, she had already learned. Pitt was concerned.

justify;">'Where did you say your highness went to look for comfort?'

'In the Bible. Oh, yes, that was what I wanted your help about. I did not know how to look; and papa said he didn't; or I don't know if he _said_ exactly that, but it came to the same thing. And then I asked Barker.'

'Was she any wiser?'

'No. She said her way of finding anything was to begin at one end and go through to the other; so I tried that. I began at the beginning; and I read on; but I found nothing until--I'll show you,' she said, suddenly breaking off and darting away; and in two minutes more she came back with her Bible. She turned over the leaves eagerly.

'Here, Pitt,--I came to this. Now what does it mean?'

She gave him the volume open at the sixth chapter of Numbers; in the end of which is the prescribed form for the blessing of the children of Israel. Pitt read the words to himself.

'The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. 'The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. 'The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.'

Esther waited till she saw he had read them through.

'Now, Pitt, what does that mean?'

'Which?'

'That last: "The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." What does "lift up his countenance upon thee" mean?'

What _did_ it mean? Pitt asked himself the question for the first time in his life. He was quite silent.

'You see,' said Esther quaintly, after a pause,--'you see, _that_ would be comfort.'

Pitt was still silent.

'Do you understand it, Pitt?'

'_Understand_ it, Esther!' he said, knitting his brows, 'No. Nobody could do that, except--the people that had it. But I think I see what it means.'


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